Our role in the decarbonisation journey of the global shipping industry

Our role in the decarbonisation journey of the global shipping industry
Ranvir Jatar
General Manager, Navigation and Environment Compliance
Published 22 Feb 2023

At FLEET, we are focused on supporting our owners and other partners to contribute to the whole-of-industry push towards decarbonisation, to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The shipping industry has already achieved a significant reduction in sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitric oxide (NOx) in recent years. This has been done through initiatives such as reducing the percentage of Sulphur in bunkered fuel and installing scrubbers, as well as introducing Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) on new ships, for the reduction of NOx emissions.

Now, the firm focus is on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2).

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping, under IMO’s pollution prevention treaty MARPOL, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) mandatory for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP).

The IMO has also set specific targets to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030, and at least a 50% reduction in total GHG emissions by 2050 (both compared to 2008 levels).

Gauging emissions

To develop this global plan for reducing the industry’s emissions, one of the key initial challenges was to determine the total CO2 emissions from the industry.

The European Union (EU) began the process of monitoring the fuel consumption of vessels calling to/from EU ports. The IMO then introduced the Data Collection System (DCS) requiring all ships to submit the consumption data to the approved verifier, worldwide.

At FLEET, while this was a significant exercise for us, we were able to efficiently monitor fuel consumption with minimum disruption and extra workload for our ships’ crews. We did this through modifying our port log position and voyage reporting system in PARIS and setting up systems to export this information efficiently to the verifier.

Changes coming in 2023 – EEXI and CII

The amount of CO2 emitted is directly proportional to the quantity of carbon-containing fuels consumed and is calculated by multiplying the quantity of fuel consumed with an ‘emission factor’.

There are significant changes being introduced in 2023 for the world’s new and existing fleet, aimed at further CO2 emission reduction. These include:

  • Energy Efficiency existing ship Index (EEXI)

The IMO has approved a formula which gives the EEXI value for a ship.

Based on the ship type there is a reference value. If the ship does not meet the reference value, then we need to take measures to improve the EEXI value for the ship.

This is typically done through:

  • Installing Energy Efficiency Technologies (EET) on board such as Propeller Boss Cap Fins or Mewis Ducts; and/or
  • Reducing fuel consumption by limiting the maximum power of the engine.

At FLEET, we are using a combination of both methods across our managed vessels, depending on the ship type. To demonstrate EEXI compliance, all ships will need to maintain a technical file on board before the first periodical survey in 2023.

Carbon Intensity Index (CII)

The IMO has also introduced the carbon intensity index (CII), aiming to reduce ships’ carbon intensity by requiring ships to become more operationally efficient.

This is more complicated than EEXI, as there are various factors that have direct influence on the vessel’s CII. The CII ratings range from A (being the best) to E.

Ratings A, B and C are acceptable. If a ship receives a rating of D for three consecutive years or E in one year, the company is required to submit a specific Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) to the approving authority, explaining how they plan the company intends to improve the vessel’s performance. This plan must be included in the ‘SEEMP Part III’, which is required to be approved by Class before the end of 2022.

At FLEET, this CII compliance process is underway, and all relevant ships will have an approved SEEMP Part III by the end of 2022.

What are we doing at FLEET to monitor emissions from vessels?

At FLEET, we are using the ship’s position report data to capture the required information for the CII. This data is automatically analysed in FLEET’s proprietary NOVA software.

One the key changes is the calculation of Annual Efficiency Ratio (AER), which is a vital component in calculating the CII.

(AER) = Fuel Consumed (less allowable deductions) X Emission Factor / Capacity (Deadweight or Gross Tons) X Distance Steamed X ship-type factor

Key factors influencing carbon intensity include:

The following factors are captured and continually monitored in NOVA – our data analytics platform of our PARIS 2.0 ecosystem:

Nature of voyages: Longer voyages with shorter port stays help in reducing carbon intensity, as a higher proportion of the fuel is used to propel the ship. While in port, the distance steamed is zero, so in the overall equation, the numerator (CO2 emissions) increases while the denominator (DWT-miles) remains the same. The nature of voyages is generally outside the control of the ship manager and the prerogative of the ship’s commercial manager.

Ship’s speed: Lower speed means less power generated by the main engine, which in turn means a lower fuel consumption.

Smoothness of Hull and Propeller: Hull and propeller fouling contribute to increased hull resistance and means that a larger amount of power needs to be generated to propel the ship at a given speed.

Sea conditions: Effective weather routing helps ships avoid heavy weather and take advantage of following or less adverse currents. This can help the ship to reduce fuel consumption and carbon intensity.

Emission factor: Alternative fuels like LNG – that have lower emission factors and higher specific fuel consumption than conventional fuels such as heavy fuel oil and marine gasoil – help reduce carbon intensity.

The NOVA module in PARIS 2.0 allows CII to be displayed in a graphical format daily. It also allows comparison between the CII while the ship is at sea (sailing CII) and the overall CII, including port fuel consumption. Furthermore, the CII rating of each completed voyage can be readily seen, as well as the effects of sea conditions on CII.

A snapshot of one of the graphical outputs available in FLEET’s NOVA platform

What can the crew onboard do to help reduce emissions?

The crew plays a key role in monitoring and helping reduce fuel consumption, through the adoption of measures aimed at improving the operational efficiency of the vessel. These include:

  • Good maintenance of the propulsion and power generation machinery
  • Accurately recording fuel consumption and other relevant data
  • Separating the fuel consumption for the main engine, auxiliary engine, boiler, cargo operation, cargo heating, and reefer container, to provide just some examples
  • Controlling the number of auxiliary engines in use and avoiding running an additional auxiliary engine unnecessarily
  • Actively working with the commercial operator to have ‘Just-In-Time’ arrivals and avoid longer port stays where possible
  • Following the measures contained in SEEMP onboard vessels which have this in place

Energy efficiency is key to a sustainable future for shipping. We understand the importance of collaboration and coordination to deliver business efficiency throughout this transformative journey. At FLEET, our technical expertise is our customers’ roadmap to success.