‘Shipping industry can benefit from data transparency’

Maersk ship

Maersk ship

AIS veseel tracking service, MarineTraffic has explained that being open with data will allow the maritime sector to increase competiveness and efficiency.

MarineTraffic, believes that open data can positively increase the competitiveness and efficiency of the shipping industry.

Speaking at the union for the Mediterranean stakeholders’ conference, titled “Towards a Roadmap for Blue Investment and Jobs in the Mediterranean’’ held in Athens, MarineTraffic managing director, Demitris Memos said: “Activities taking place on the high seas have in the past been almost impossible to monitor.

“Consequently, it has been difficult for governments and businesses to work out what goes on. The world’s oceans have been and to an extent still are fairly ungovernable places. Companies in the maritime big data area are starting to make sense of sea-borne activity, increasing available knowledge and creating transparency on a global scale.

“Most stakeholders recognise that it is a good thing and will enable better regulation of our oceans and contribute significantly to the shipping industry’s competitiveness.”

Memos commented further on the need for open data sharing, stating: “In terms of overall knowledge gaps, a key weakness is the sheer amount of data being generated. This is an issue for the big data industry in general, not just maritime. We need to make better sense of the immense amount of data we have and improve at extracting meaningful knowledge from it. However to do this, more data is needed. To understand causes and effects, data from multiple sources is needed and for this reason, we would encourage open data sharing.”

MarineTraffic stated that open data and transparency can positively contribute to the overall competitiveness of the shipping industry, significantly improving efficiency in a number of areas.

Meanwhile, a study commissioned by two Brussels-based state-funded eco lobbies, Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment, has disclosed that new containerships built in 2013 are 10 per cent less fuel-efficient than those built in 1990.

According to agency reports, the findings contradict press release from every announcement of every launch of every new ship, which invariably extols the virtues of new unit’s improved fuel efficiency.

Denying industry claims are the two state funded NGOs, which say their study also shows that containerships built 30 years ago already, on average, beat the so-called “Energy Efficiency Design Index” standard that the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has set for new ships built in 2020.

This study of the historical development of the design efficiency of new ships finds that bulk carriers, tankers, and containerships built in 2013 were on average eight per cent less fuel efficient than those built in 1990, a quarter of a century ago.

Reporting this, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) newsletter said these findings contradict claims that shipping has been constantly improving its environmental performance.

Oil prices in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the time when new ships were historically most fuel efficient, were around a quarter of the levels seen in the 2008-2013 period.

However, this is only half the story, as ships have increased in size which reduces the CO2 emissions per container shipped. The group explained that IMO will review the stringency levels of its Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) – the efficiency standards for new ships – during a meeting of its Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) in London from May 11-15.

“New ships today are no more efficient than they were over twenty years ago, despite shipping industry claims to the contrary. The efficiency of new ships has deteriorated by 10% on average since 1990.

“The study also shows that containerships built 30 years ago already, on average, beat the “Energy Efficiency Design Index” (EEDI) standard set by IMO for new ships built in 2020.

“Historical trends in ship design efficiency,” has been carried out by Netherlands-based CE Delft, which describes itself as an “independent research and consultancy organization specialized in developing innovative solutions to environmental problems.”

It was commissioned by Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment (both members of the Clean Shipping Coalition), and supported by the European Climate Foundation.

“This would imply a 30-year stagnation of efficiency improvement, meaning that reducing shipping volumes would be the only avenue for net reductions of emissions.”

The study analyzed the development of the design efficiency of new ships built over the last 50 years, using efficiency indicator values.

The study also shows that, in general, the design efficiency of new ships improved significantly in the 1980s was at its best in the 1990s and has deteriorated in the 2000s.

The best-designed bulkers were built around 1990 and are some 14% more efficient than those built today. The most efficient tankers were built around 1988, which run around 10% better than those built today.

It explained that the difference for container ships was far greater. Those built in 1985 were about 25% better than those built in 2013.

“The relevance of this study for the review of the IMO’s design efficiency standards is that it suggests that ships can improve their design efficiency by 5% to 15% on average just by going back to 1990s designs.

Analysis of the design efficiency of ships that have entered the fleet since 2009 would appear to show this has in fact been happening,” the study said.

Meanwhile, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) recently issued the updated and revised Rescue at Sea guide intended for the rescue of refugees and migrants.

According to IMO, the document provides guidance on relevant legal provisions, on practical procedures to ensure the prompt disembarkation of rescued persons, and on measures to meet their specific needs, particularly in the case of refugees and asylum-seekers.

Available data indicates that 2014 has been a record high year for illegal migration at sea, with migrants putting lives at risk and placing a huge strain on rescue services and on merchant vessels.

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