Lack of ambition in saving energy in the shipping industry

Wendy Laursen writes on the Maritime Executive website about a recent study that surveyed ship managers attitudes towards improving energy performance. The results are quite disappointing.

 

No Energy for Fuel Efficiency

Ambition levels for setting energy saving targets in the shipping industry are low. That’s one of the conclusions reached in DNV GL’s 2015 Energy Management Study.

The study, based on the input of 80 shipping companies, including ship managers, owners and operators in 24 countries, set out to answer one of the key questions facing the maritime industry today: To actually increase energy efficiency in ship operation, what really matters?

The study found that nearly 30 percent of participants do not have a quantitative saving target. Nearly one third of respondents fully, or at least largely, achieved targets made for 2014. One fourth did not achieve energy related targets at all or only to a small degree. Little less than half achieved their targets to within 25 to 75 percent.

This is a worrying result, says DNV GL: “low ambitions not even met.”

However, most respondents agreed that energy efficiency is important to them. Fuel costs were cited as the key driver for energy efficiency, followed by the market need to disclose environmental footprint.

Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) and energy management seem to be purely compliance driven initiatives for about at least 40 percent of participants.

Energy saving measures have been addressed, and partially implemented, by over 50 percent of the responding shipping companies. However, DNV GL says there is a clear indication that many shipping companies struggle with implementation.

The responsibility for energy management appears unclear in many shipping companies. Not even a third of all companies have a dedicated energy manager or team. Most companies have assigned the task to “everybody”, which often actually means “nobody”, states the report.

Superintendents are said to regularly review energy related data in about half of the shipping companies. Others distribute the reports in the company or use data for root cause analyses. The most successful companies implemented both; an IT-based performance management system and a performance management culture.

Although nine common energy efficiency measures have been addressed in more than half of all shipping companies, many of them still do not realize the expected savings. Of the nine, slow steaming was the largest contributor to energy savings realized.

For an owner or a manager there are hardly any better ways to differentiate than by superior energy efficiency, says DNV GL. “People make the difference” is the golden thread through this year’s study.

Many companies struggle with implementation, says DNV GL, which is a human aspect. The combination of carrot and stick – awareness, capabilities and motivation on the one hand, and performance management on the other – seems to be the key success factor.

The report is available here.

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