Vessel Information Sharing Can Save Fuel

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June 24, 2011

The following article originally appeared on, a resource of the National Maritime Domain Awareness Coordination Office, which is responsible for coordinating efforts within the U.S. government to promote the safety and security of the global maritime domain.

The Creating Climate Wealth Summit took place May 3-4, 2011 at the Nationals Park Conference Center in Washington, DC. The workshops were attended by executives, investors, entrepreneurs, and leaders from the private and public sector. The purpose was to identify specific U.S. pathways to accelerate deployment of green solutions in the face of low expectations and weak mandates.

The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization created by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson focused on market-driven solutions to address climate change, convened the summit and assembled leaders from the finance, transportation, energy, agriculture industries, as well as government in an effort to jumpstart efforts that will have immediate impacts on global climate change.

Workshops were divided into seven working tracks, all with significant implications for the maritime sector: distributed generation, energy efficiency, personal transportation, island economies, aviation and renewable fuels, shipping and freight, and sustainable agriculture. Discussions in the Shipping and Freight workshop were varied and discussed profitable means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are immediately actionable.

One prominent idea was support for the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), a standard to rate vessels’ efficiency. In order to encourage higher EERs, special consideration could be given to efficient ships in port, however inefficient ships would find themselves burdened with disincentives and higher port fees. This effort is heavily supported by the larger shipping companies, who are already heavily invested in efficiency measures for the purpose of fuel savings. Thus, it would put smaller operators at an even greater competitive disadvantage.

Various technologies were discussed as means to prompt savings of energy costs as well as greenhouse gas emissions. The adoption of more efficient fuels, innovative engine designs, and the use of supplemental sails entered the conversation. Furthermore, participants explored the use of capital to promote the development and distribution of new technologies.

While many of the ideas discussed were interesting, one promising intersection of fuel efficiency and Maritime Domain Awareness was the Virtual Arrival system, an initiative developed by the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO). Virtual Arrival involves information sharing between vessels at sea and their destination port. By altering its speed to arrive at port just as a berth is available, the ship burns less fuel in transit, burns no generator fuel at anchorage, and avoids demurrage.

See related article by SEAaT (Shipping Emissions Abatement and Trading): The Shipping Virtual Arrival Project by OCIMF and Intertanko

The Creating Climate Wealth Summit series, in Washington, Sydney and London, aims to accelerate create economic growth, entrepreneurial wealth, well paid jobs, and make billion ton (gigaton) carbon reductions.

Related Links:

The Creating Climate Wealth Summit

Carbon War Room


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