Ships could significantly reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions if they were informed about berth availability and adjusted their speed, a study by the Port of Rotterdam has found.
The study, a collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam and research institute TNO, found that 134,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved each year using Just-In-Time (JIT) ship operations.
The JIT concept was proposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and it intends to eliminate early arrivals at the port, which means ships would be able to sail slower and consume less fuel.
Currently, terminal operators and service providers share very little information about completion times which means ships often spend hours or days waiting at anchor outside of ports.
Incoming ships need to know in advance when the berth becomes available and at the moment, ships are informed roughly two hours before arrival when it is in radio range.
The IMO has claimed that providing ships with regular updates about the availability of berths, especially in the last twelve hours prior to port arrival, can reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions.
Senior researcher at TNO Jan Hulskotte said “container ships would have to adjust their sailing speed by an average of 5% and still arrive at the planned arrival time” in order to achieve reduced fuel costs and emissions.
IMO’s GloMEEP Global Industry Alliance (GIA) initiative has begun looking into the operational and contractual barriers of implementing JIT operations with the intention to make the concept a reality.
Astrid Dispert, technical adviser of the GloMEEP project, said: “In percentage terms, we’re talking about modest amounts. But it’s exactly these types of measures that can make a huge difference in the short term and help reduce the carbon footprint of marine shipping. Added to that, they’d also have a beneficial effect on the wallets of the shipping companies.”
It has proposed several solutions for both operational and contractual barriers, including contracts that require proper real time data exchange and a global app that would allow ships to connect to each port to exchange times.
In 2018, the Port of Rotterdam Authority launched Pronto, a port call optimisation platform that combines a variety of data sources that aims to help plan a port call by a vessel as accurately as possible.
The platform is now available for use by the port community for a fee or data and is a step toward making IMO’s JIT plan possible.