Regulating shipping efficiency

IMO 2020 regulations and expected future mandates are pushing ship designs forward

Industrial markets tend to reward efficiency. Whether it’s planes, trains, automobiles or the latest electronic device, most industries strive for ongoing performance improvements through better engineering, operations and business intelligence. Not so much with shipping. In fact, a study from the mid-2000s showed that ships were 10% less fuel efficient then than they were in the 1990s.

Why is that? A couple of reasons. First, before IMO 2020 and IMO 2050, ship designers hadn’t seen the regulatory and environmental pressures demanding greater efficiency. Rather than influenced by climate change and associated regulatory pressures, recent improvements tend to have been market driven – reactions to higher fuel prices, lower freight rates and other factors that have led to far from steady efficiency improvements.

Second, ships are designed to last. Once built, they don’t wear out quickly. So, owners must improve efficiency per transported good or transported passenger through a variety of means. One way to tackle this is to convert the ships by lengthening them, making them larger, removing some of the systems to extend the lifetime – or increasing the capacity to reduce emissions per unit of transport or per passenger day. This would reduce maritime emissions. Another way of improving efficiency is to transition to highly efficient ship design with optimization of hulls, propellers, diesel-electric propulsion systems or hybrid systems.

By the time the 2050 regulations take effect, carbon-neutral fuels — and ships that use such fuels — will be required. With this in mind, fuel and power must evolve to meet the needs of ships of the future. The perfect storm of regulatory and environmental pressures within the next three decades makes it inevitable. So, prepare yourself and start thinking to convert your propulsion to hybrid or electrical with The Switch DC-Hub.

Don´t simply make your vessel bigger – make it cleaner, greener or smarter.

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