Maersk Line Getting Greener Everyday

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Maersk Line Getting Greener Everyday

New vessels and nose jobs make shipping eco-friendlier
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Maersk Line getting greener everyday - New vessels and nose jobs make shipping eco-friendlier
Monday, September 16, 2013 - 11:30am

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Throughout the transportation industry, efforts are underway to become greener and more sustainable. The September issue of MM&D takes a look at efforts in the trucking industry and the airline world. To read about what’s happening in ocean shipping, see the web exclusive content below.

Shipping lines see a direct relationship between reducing fuel costs, saving money and doing good things for the environment.

Lee Kindberg is director, environment and sustainability for North America, for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Maersk Line. She says “fuel efficiency and air emissions, greenhouse gases and other emissions, are related to the fuel we burn, which is related to cost, so energy efficiency is very important to the shipping industry. The cost of fuel has almost doubled in the last three years, but our customers need us to keep the costs down. We also have a number of customers who are concerned about the environmental impact of their supply chains and they’ve made public commitments to make reductions in that.”

According to Kindberg, Maersk made an internal commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent per container by 2020, “and we made it eight years early.

“The more we got into it the more we realized we could find good ways to do it and the more we realized it was good for us as a business as well as being good for the environment. So we’ve increased that goal. Our new goal is to hit a 40 percent per container reduction before 2020. We continue to push hard on greenhouse gases, but we need to remember that all air emissions that are fuel related are reduced by about that same percentage.”

The shipping line has achieved its goals in a number of ways, but slow steaming and steady steaming (which involves just-in-time port arrivals) have really made a significant difference. But to really make steady steaming work, Kindberg says Maersk needed to invest in technology.

“You don’t want to speed up and slow down. The lowest steady speed will give you the best energy efficiency. To achieve that, the masters on board all of our vessels now have some decision software that helps then figure out what is the lowest, most economical speed, the lowest energy-efficient speed they can run to get between these two ports. In these days of big data we are actually looking at the performance speed and fuel consumption between every port pair.”

Older vessels which weren’t designed with slow or steady steaming in mind can benefit from retrofits that make them more efficient at slower speeds, so Kindberg says Maersk is performing rhinoplasty on some of its ships

“Some of the bulbous bows we had on our vessels were actually optimized for pretty high speeds. Now that we’re going significantly slower speeds with the steady steaming, it makes financial sense to go in and modify them. You go in and cut off 100 plus tonnes of steel and replace it with something that’s a different shape. I call it rhinoplasty. It’s a nose job.”

Keywords: Environment & Climate Change | Eco-Friendly | Energy | Green | Maersk Line | Sustainable Shipping | Technology | efficiency | environment | retrofiit | supply chain

CONTENT: Article