Efficiency: Environmental Groups Wade In Again

ships in port

Published May 5, 2015 8:19 PM by Wendy Laursen

CE Delft has released yet another study on the environmental performance of ships, this time showing that new ships are already meeting 2020 design standard set by IMO. It is accompanied by a call for greater ambition at IMO and follows an earlier report that drew the ire of the International Chamber of Shipping and others in the industry.

The study, commissioned by Brussels based NGOs Seas at Risk and Transport & Environment, calculated the Estimated Index Values (EIVs) of new ships built between 2009 and 2014 and concluded that the majority of container and general cargo ships built in recent years already meet the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) standards set for 2020. 

While there was a small improvement in the design efficiency of new ships between 2009 and 2012, this changed significantly in 2013 and 2014. The table below shows the percentage of ships built in 2013 and 2014 with EIV scores that meet or exceed the EEDI for 2020.

Of the ships in the study that were built in 2014 some 34 percent of containerships and 43 percent of general cargo ships also met the EEDI target for 2030. The study also shows that the actual percentage of ships meeting the EEDI targets will be greater, as the EIV is in general an underestimate of the EEDI score. 

Call for Action

“Along with the earlier study of historical design efficiency trends, this latest work only confirms that the EEDI targets need substantial revision. The current standards fail to reflect best practice or the pace with which improvements in efficiency can be brought about,” says Bill Hemmings, Shipping Program Manager with Transport and Environment.

John Maggs, Senior Policy Advisor with Seas At Risk and President of the Clean Shipping Coalition added: “Shipping is a significant and growing contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. If the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index is to be fit for purpose, new reduction targets must be agreed that take account of what “best in class” designs can already achieve.”

Large Variation Identified

The study identified a large variation in the EIV of ships of similar type and size, indicating that large additional fuel savings and associated reductions in CO2 emissions would be possible if all ships were built to the best available designs and technologies. 

The EIV improvements have coincided with increases in average design speed and decreases in main engine power for a number of ship categories, suggesting that hull or propulsion efficiency has been improved. The findings also suggest that, if design speeds were kept constant, larger improvements in design efficiency would have been possible.

The Earlier Study

Another recent study undertaken by CE Delft for Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment has already shown that recent ship designs are actually, on average, less efficient than those from 1990. This second study shows that much greater efficiencies can be delivered quickly if EEDI targets better reflect best available designs and technologies.
This report drew criticism from some sectors of the maritime industry. The International Chamber of Shipping released a statement saying: “The Transport & Environment statement appears to confuse overall design efficiency with an approximate estimate of fuel efficiency based on generic data. Modern ships are designed for optimal efficiency which requires far less fuel to be consumed than previously. 

“Largely as a result of fuel efficient operations, the latest IMO Green House Gas Study, published in 2014, shows that international shipping reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 10 percent between 2007 and 2012, at a time when demand for maritime transport continued to increase.”

MarEx covered the debate here.

IMO to Meet

The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) will hold its 68th session in London from 11-15 May, and will be reviewing the suitability of existing EEDI targets.

The latest CE Delft report is available here.