How optimising vessel speed will save you 14% in fuel and emissions

The best way to reduce fuel consumption

Most shipowners and charterers use only two speed instructions during a voyage: full speed and eco-speed. But shouldn't you use the speed that is optimal?

The business case is clear: ships can reduce fuel consumption and resulting carbon dioxide emissions by 14% on a per voyage basis by optimising vessel speed over the full voyage, according to a new study commissioned by the IMO.

The biggest fuel savings can be achieved early in the voyage. If you are able to optimize speed over the entire duration of a voyage, you are able to save over 14%. Savings drop to 5.9% if you only optimise in the last 24 hours and to and 4.2% for a 12 hrs. While the study is based on container vessels, we expect similar results for other vessel types.

As example, for a ship burning 50MT per day, on a 30 day voyage, the potential savings are 210,000 dollars*.

This indicates that implementing speed optimisation is most useful when done from start of sea passage.

Besides fuel costs and emissions, optimising vessel speed is also the main contributor to a ship carbon intensity indicator (CII), which will enter into force later this year.

How a Digital Twin can help you find the optimal speed - in real-time

We believe that a vessel should sail at the speed which will give you the lowest costs for the current voyage, which is a delicate balance between fuel costs, maximum allowed ETA, and ship daily charter costs.  

Our We4Sea Speed Adviser does exactly this.

Our speed advisor uses our Digital Twin technology by finding the speed-consumption curve of the vessel at each instant, based on the specifics of the current ship's situation, such as weather or draught.

Combined with the daily rate, fuel price, route and distance to go, our algorithms calculate what speed is optimal for lowest costs, while still arriving on time. Every 15 minutes, we automatically check if the current speed is still optimal and adjust accordngly.

In this example, a container vessel is sailing from Busan to Vancouver. The actual speed is 17.1kn. Charter rate is 30,000 USD per day and fuel price is 928USD per MT. The planned ETA is June 15.

During the voyage, the operator is informed that the berth is not available until June 18, 09 AM local time.

Based on the new ETA, the charter rate and the fuel price, the optimal speed through water to arrive on time is 13kn.

By sailing slightly slower, and arriving 47.7 hrs later, over 175,000 USD on total voyage costs are saved!

The operator is in control

The operator her/himself can now change the settings and the maximum ETA easily in the dashboard, and instruct the vessel accordingly. Also, a graph is presented displaying the effects on voyage costs for a lower or higher speed.

Also, the operator can directly see if the vessel follows the new speed instruction, using our real-time dashboard.

Using this speed adviser, our customers have reported up to 15% savings in voyage costs.

See what it can our real-time speed adviser can do for your business? Contact us for a demo!

*Based on 1100 USD/MT, Average Price Global 20 Ports Average (Ship&, 8 June 2022)