Only about a third of shipping companies are aiming for energy savings of 5% or more, a new study by DNV GL Energy Management suggests.
While energy saving is a high priority, with three-quarters of those questioned naming fuel savings as a topic of high importance, in many cases shipping companies do not have ambitious savings targets.
While the share of companies with no defined savings targets dropped to 28%, from 44% in 2013, few had set goal of reaching even half the level of performance improvement that has been attained by the top industry performers.
The study was based on the input of 80 shipping companies and included ship managers, owners, and operators in 24 countries.
“The awareness of the importance and benefits of implementing energy saving measures has grown since our last study,” said Dr Jan-Henrik Hübner, Global Head of Shipping Advisory at DNV GL – Maritime. “But the low targets set by most respondents indicate that companies may lack a complete picture of the potential rewards that can be gained with a relatively modest level of investment.
“Only one in 10 companies were aiming for gains of 10% or more, which is a level that our work with customers shows is attainable for many owners and operators through a combination of operational and technical enablers,” he said.
Of the companies that did set improvement targets, nearly a third of respondents fully or at least largely achieved targets they set for 2014 and almost half achieved between 25 to 75% of their targets. Only a quarter of the respondents failed to reach even 25% of their performance targets for the year.
In ship operations, a promising development is the increased awareness of performance monitoring as integral to improving energy efficiency. Reliable data collection, monitoring, and analysis gives companies continuous transparency on energy performance and enables them to identify obstacles in the way of realising their targets and the ability to proactively improve ship performance.
“Performance monitoring was ranked as the most important contributor to achieving energy management goals, with 53% of respondents wanting to implement or strengthen performance management over the next year,” Hübner said.
“This is very encouraging, however, most companies are still undertaking manual data collection and reporting. The strongest performers have made the commitment to introduce not only IT-based performance management systems but a performance management culture.”
“Building organisational awareness of what it takes to attain these performance goals is the top target for 2015, but companies are now realising that simply defining a set of measures is not enough – to really drive energy savings there needs to be buy-in from both office staff and crew, and the resources in place to implement retrofitting or other technical measures on board,” said Hübner.
The greatest contributors to energy savings in 2014 by far were slow steaming, hull and propeller cleaning, and voyage planning optimisation – all well-known fuel use reduction strategies that require little investment. Despite the recent drop in fuel prices, cost continues to be the main driver for change – 80% of those surveyed named fuel savings as their main stimulus for action.