At the World Ocean Council’s Sustainable Ocean Summit today, Carbon War Room, exactEarth, and University Maritime Advisory Service (UMAS) launched BetterFleet, a free-to-access ship operational efficiency portal, on ShippingEfficiency.org. Based on similar data and methods used by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assess the world fleet, BetterFleet shows how efficiently an individual vessel has operated over the past year and compares it against its peers.
BetterFleet provides free-to-access efficiency data to support the shipping industry’s many different stakeholders, and particularly those who use it as part of their supply chain, to understand the comparative energy efficiency of different vessels and identify actions to reduce emissions and costs.
Galen Hon, shipping operation manager with Carbon War Room, explains:“Shippers and cargo owners often specify how the ship must be run, how it is loaded, and what schedule it adheres to. These factors strongly affect operational efficiency. This is particularly true in the time charter market, where the cargo owner hires the entire vessel. It can also be true in the spot market, where supply chain demands can indirectly determine how ships are operated. BetterFleet delivers greater understanding to shippers and charterers of the impact of their supply-chain demands on ship efficiency.
“BetterFleet illustrates where and how much efficiency varies for ships, in order to identify potential sources of inefficiencies, find opportunities to optimise operations, and reduce costs for everyone. It will also empower owners to begin conversations with their charterers and shippers about how operations affect the bottom line, carbon emissions, and the environment.”
Shipping is under increasing international pressure to reduce its environmental impact. Although the more efficient design of new ships is regulated, the majority of ships currently trading internationally are not subject to any regulation constraining their greenhouse gas emissions. A significant proportion of the sector’s emissions are influenced by the decisions of stakeholders other than shipowners. With increasing financial pressures and a shortage of free and transparent data for use in these decisions, emission reduction is a complex challenge.
The BetterFleet portal on ShippingEfficiency.org will allow any registered user to search by ship name or IMO number to see the performance of that vessel over a 12-month period. BetterFleet displays metrics and visuals to provide a holistic view of the ship’s operation:
- An “out of ten” score summarizing the overall performance of the ship over the previous 12 months compared with ships of similar type and size
- An overview of the magnitude and frequency of estimated operational efficiency variations for the individual vessel and for all the vessels of the same type and size, measured in grams of CO2 per tonne-mile of freight transported
- A world map depicting the voyages of the vessel over the same time period
BetterFleet is based on AIS data and the best publicly available data processed through state-of-the-art models similar to those used for the Third IMO GHG Study. The portal currently includes a large portion of the tanker, bulk carrier and container ship fleets, and more vessel types and sizes will be added over time. It is not intended to be better than or replace the information shipowners obtain directly from their vessels. It is meant to be the best data of its kind that is publicly available in order to enable comparison. It is designed to allow anyone — shipowner, cargo-owner or others — to see an overview of a specific ship’s performance. BetterFleet, and the models and data it is based on, will continue to improve and evolve over time to support the needs of the industry.
“Ships are essential to the system of global freight movement that supports a thriving world economy,” continues Hon. “As the world responds to the threat of climate change, shipping must find a way to reduce its emissions while still executing its vital function. Optimizing how efficiently ships move freight is a crucial first step. Each ship has an optimum efficiency based on how it is designed and built, but achieved efficiency will be strongly affected by requirements governing how it is run — its speed, the routes it operates along and how on-board energy use is managed. BetterFleet will help users of shipping to understand the impact of their decisions and requirements, and create change that lowers costs and reduces supply chain GHG emissions.”
Captain Kavil Madhu Nair, vice president, Rickmers Shipmangement (Singapore) Pte Ltd, who trialled BetterFleet prior to launch, commented: “Ships now operate in a world where effective decision-making is more vital than ever, affecting trading relationships, the environmental impact of transporting goods and the bottom lines of owner, operator and shipper alike. In this world, transparent and consistent information is becoming increasingly important, with access to operational efficiency data a key consideration for forward-looking organisations.
“By launching BetterFleet and making operational efficiency data available to the masses, shipowners and managers will be able to make the case for greater operational efficiency to charterers and shippers, who drive the demand and determine how vessels are run in most cases. It will also boost the commercial offering of efficient operators and managers by demonstrating they are able to work with their shippers to run ships as efficiently as possible.
“We see real potential for BetterFleet to help owners, managers and shippers to re-shape the market.”
BetterFleet hopes to build on ShippingEfficiency.org’s other tool, the GHG Emissions Rating, which launched in 2010 with partner RightShip. Today, 20% of all shipped tonnage is now transported on ships vetted for efficiency using the GHG Emissions Rating. The tools are very different. The GHG Emissions Rating provides information on how efficient a ship is originally designed to be, whereas the new BetterFleet tool shows how efficiently a ship has operated based on its technical specifications and how it is used over a specific period of time. Together these tools can help different aspects of the industry understand and contribute to total emissions reductions from shipping.
The BetterFleet project is made possible by a grant from Dutch Postcode Lottery, which recently granted €1 million ($1.09 million) to CWR and Rocky Mountain Institute to expand their impact in the shipping industry.