Friday, October 24, 2014

Bulk Freight Carriers and Tankers Can Benefit from Improved Ship Management Techniques

One Acronym That Proved Worthwhile for Vessel Management Company
Shipping News Feature

TURKEY – UK – WORLDWIDE – It is hard for anyone to keep abreast of the dozens of acronyms which seem to appear on a daily basis, and in the world of shipping we are probably more adept at producing and using these than most industries. Whilst all freight forwarders and other supply chain professionals are well versed in some of these; FOB, ISO, TEU etc. we now have a host of others, both giving a short form version of the names of companies and professional logistics organisations, plus abbreviated terms creeping in from sectors other than shipping.

Some acronyms however are worth knowing as they simplify a more complex concept and back in 1986 a set of techniques used to Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control operational performance and processes was christened DMAIC by the Motorola group and is still as relevant today, as is evidenced following its use by a subsidiary of the London Headquartered ship management company Newport Shipping UK LLP.

Ecoships is the Turkish based company which specialises in investigating and introducing safety and performance enhancing measures and technologies for the maritime sector, both for its own and others fleets of dry-cargo vessels, tankers and chemical tankers. Last month the company unveiled Greenlotus 32, a next generation, 32,500 dwt handy-size bulk carrier design, optimised to provide extremely low fuel consumption while meeting all existing and proposed future emissions regulations. The company has now introduced a customised version of the Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process and performance evaluation in order to optimise the energy-efficiency of the vessels already under its management.

Ecoships says that the technique has already resulted in its own fleet of managed ships benefitting from up to 15% greater fuel efficiency, resulting in substantial reductions in CO2, NOx and SOx emissions. One of the first vessels to benefit from Ecoships’ eco-smart approach is the 25,000 dwt bulk carrier Bulk Rose. The vessel, delivered from Turkey’s Cicek Shipyard in 2011 and taken under Ecoships management in January 2014, was initially consuming 840g/dwt of fuel per day. It now consumes 750g/dwt/day.

Ecoships used the DMAIC technique to identify the best technical and operational energy-efficiency solutions available, such as trim optimisation and weather routing software, along de-rating engines and retrofitting hardware such as rudder fins, shaft generators and waste heat recovery systems. General Manager Capt. Aykut Yilmaz, explains:

Bulk Rose was fitted with a shaft generator and we had access to most of the signals and measurements. But we identified that a minimum 10% reduction in fuel consumption could be achieved by operational optimisation. After analysing the data, we decided to retrofit a shaft power torque meter and monitoring solution for better analysis of the data along with optimal voyage planning and weather routing systems. We then fed all of this data into our software for real-time analysis of fuel consumption. The result was that we were able to improve energy efficiency by 11%.

“Our focus is firmly on safety and operating the vessels with zero harm to the environment, at all times maintaining the integrity of the hull and machinery, keeping a close hands-on approach to OPEX, and chartering the vessel in the most profitable trades. Our DMAIC approach achieves this.”

Photo: The Greenlotus 32 concept