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The challenge

Lower bunker fuel consumption by our ocean-going fleet both saves money and reduces our carbon footprint at sea. We have improved base-line performance by chartering younger vessels and investing in state-of-the-art ships. Additional gains rely on operating and maintaining the fleet with increasing efficiency.

 

Our approach

Optimising bunker usage is the single, most effective way to improve the operational efficiency of our owned and chartered vessels. We have adopted a three-pronged approach. Port optimisation, speed optimisation and route optimisation strategies, all of which take account of environmental conditions, cover each vessel on every voyage.

Our guidelines for vessels at anchor aim to minimise bunker usage while maintaining safe operations. Recommended measures include switching off engine room vent fans, halting certain pumping operations, and addressing airflow and temperature regulation.

Speed optimisation guidelines require vessels at sea to balance bunker usage with journey times. We want to avoid vessels arriving at a port but then having to sit outside until a berth becomes available. We are aiming for vessels to steam as slow as possible but arrive at the port just in time for their delivery. Masters are asked to apply super-slow steaming where they can still ensure their vessels reach their destinations by the agreed delivery times

The third element, route optimisation, is driving substantial bunker savings. Over the last 18 months, we have introduced smart navigation services across the fleet. Our ships share voyage and vessel data with our external partners at weather-related navigation consultancies. Their analysts plot the most bunker-efficient route ahead of each journey, factoring in tides, currents and meteorological conditions. Vessels can also receive course adjustment recommendations once underway.

Taken together, these measures generated an estimated USD6 million in bunker savings in the last financial year, equivalent to 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Until recently, our primary focus has been on ensuring widespread adoption of these optimisation techniques. Formalising our reporting will drive further performance improvements. From next year, all our vessel masters will be required to provide regular, auditable figures on their bunker usage.