Carrying about 90% of goods moved internationally, marine ships are finding themselves targets of increasing fuel efficiency in the effort to reduce the environmental impact of the industry. Eco-ships, with their fuel-efficient, low-emissions features, are gaining increasing market share due to growing awareness amongst ship owners of doing the right thing. One such owner is Singapore’s NOL Group which took delivery recently of its largest and most environmentally-friendly vessel in its fleet as part of its modernising effort. Read more
NOL names 14,000-TEU newbuilding, biggest Singaporean boxship ever
In JŪRA MOPE SEA (28 March 2013):
SINGAPORE’s NOL Group has taken delivery of its newest, largest and most environmentally friendly vessel in its fleet, the 14,000-TEU APL Temasek.
To celebrate the event, the company held a naming ceremony for the ship whose name was inspired by the old name for Singapore, meaning ‘Sea Town.’
It is the first in a series of ten 14,000-TEU vessels on order by the Singapore-based shipping and logistics group and also the biggest containership registered in Singapore.
The newbuilding follows the delivery of ten new 10,000-TEU ships that joined the fleet between 2011 and 2012. These newbuildings are part of a US$4 billion fleet renewal programme aimed at improving the shipping line’s slot cost. They are replacing older, less efficient ships that are either sold or returned to charter owners.
Group chairman Kwa Chong Seng said, “We are modernising our fleet, improving our cost structure, and investing in the future. To compete successfully in today’s marketplace, we must ensure that we have the most competitive product with the latest technology, design and sustainability features.”
The 14,000-TEU ships have been designed to boost operating efficiency at various speeds. The company estimates the new design will improve fuel efficiency by about 20-30 per cent per TEU for a (slow steaming) speed range of 15-18 knots, compared to previous designs.
The APL Temasek is being deployed on the Asia-Europe Loop 4 service.
A statement from the group added that the newbuilding’s sister ships will likewise be named after icons of the island state.
Shipping Gazette – Daily Shipping News
A Greener Blueprint: The Evolving Market for Eco-Ships
ctech is created by Fathom, the maritime market intelligence company, and supported by BIMCO, the world’s largest shipping organisation.
22 March 2013:
Holistic “eco-ship” designs are starting to gain traction in the merchant shipping industry. In the last few years, concepts such as the Grontmij Seahorse Series, the Delta Marin B Delta range, the Hyundai HMD Eco 40 and the Ulstein X-BOW have all seen increases in orders. The market is starting to respond positively to these vessels.
However, the term “eco-ship” extends beyond these concept vessels. It could equally be use to refer to any sea-going craft that incorporates a package of the ever-growing range of energy and emission-saving technology for marine applications. The picture for this much wider range of vessels is much less clear: how is the market responding?
This week, Fathom explores an article recently published by The Baltic that reviews opinions by leading shipping commentators on where the market for eco-ships is at and short to medium-term developments.
Disregarding any debate over what actually qualifies as an ‘eco-ship’, we’re given to believe that there is a huge push to put them on the water. But is that necessarily the case and, if it is, what are the driving factors? Felicity Landon reports.
“From meeting legal requirements at the ‘minimum’ end of the scale to being virtuously ‘green’ at the other, there can be few shipowners that are not looking for solutions to save fuel and reduce emissions. But often the middle ground is misunderstood”, says Alison Jarabo-Martin, managing director of Fathom Shipping.
“There is a growing understanding that moving towards eco-ships is important and people do want to do the right thing – but we are also struggling in tough financial times, so it needs to have some business benefits, and not everyone understands all the business benefits of eco-efficiency,” she says.
“It is about understanding what the business case is, and implementing it better. I don’t think there should be a ‘green wash’ for the sake of it because that doesn’t get anyone anywhere. We went through a phase of that in the industry and to an extent we still are – with all the eco-ships being marketed, apparently every ship coming out of the Far East is an eco-ship.”
There is obviously awareness that ‘eco’ is good and there is also increasing consumer pressure – operators need to be transparent to their end users, who are seeking ‘greener’ supply chains, says Jarabo-Martin. “And there have been some really interesting developments,” she adds.
KfW Bank worked with classification society Germanischer Lloyd (GL) to benchmark the bank’s whole loan portfolio against the Energy Efficiency Design Index, to see where the vessels sat in terms of fuel efficiency, emissions, etc.
“And what they found was that those with a very bad energy efficiency profile were the loans performing particularly badly as well. It wasn’t what they expected to see; but it showed that the more responsible operators were better in terms of risk.”
There are always going to be the front-runners, of course, and at the opposite extreme there are shipowners not even meeting the legislation, says Jarabo-Martin. “Then there is a whole host in between the two extremes.”
Clarifying the Advantages
But remove the virtuous bit, and what are the advantages? Clearly, less fuel means less expense. There is a view that more efficient ships will have a better lifecycle, so owners could gain better lending terms. As to whether eco-ships will gain better charter rates, this is unclear.
“I keep hearing talk that there will be better charter rates but I don’t know that this is happening,” she says. “However, I do believe eco-ships are more ‘charterable’. It makes more sense to charter the best vessel to get the most fuel efficiency.”
However, one of the big issues is establishing the actual fuel savings, she says. “There has been this fuel saving technologies band wagon people have jumped on and it has made owners and operators very suspicious. Fuel savings claims are made but there is no way realistically for them to check – that lack of information is almost creating a barrier to the uptake of the technology.”
Three years ago Fathom Shipping compiled a book of ship information giving details of the different fuel savings options – “That was very successful because no one had done it before, but then it was out of date within six months.”
Fathom has now moved the concept online. Its CTech website provides a platform for collating and reviewing maritime clean technologies and providers – giving overviews of products and attached savings claims, and supplying cost, ROI, maturity and case study data where possible. Shipowners and operators have free access to the site and are encouraged to input their own information.
“We carry out case studies of the technologies available and now developing in order to give a wider and wider profile of what is really useful,” says Jarabo-Martin. “CTech has been founded on wide industry support and an extensive contact network to give the most up-to-the-minute knowledge and insight on maritime eco-efficiency providers.”
At a time of severe shortage of available capital, do eco-ships have the added virtue of being more attractive to the ship finance sector? Opinion seems divided. Phil Cowan, head of corporate finance at Moore Stephens, says: “I wouldn’t say having an eco-ship was a magic wand in terms of getting finance. I think the market is still looking at eco-ships and whether they will or not make a different in the market in a few years.
“Potentially eco-ships, if proved to work and provide an advantage, will become a significant factor in lending decisions – but, having said that, our approach would need to be ‘stand the test of due diligence’ and it may b e other ships may well stand on their own merits if prices reflect the fact that a ship isn’t, relatively speaking, an eco-ship compared to another one.”
Lawyers at Norton Rose believe that the squeeze on capital is slowing the move to eco-ships.
“I think if there was the capital, there would be an even greater push towards eco-ships, of course, with their added benefits,” says banking lawyer Richard Howley.
Eco-ships have certainly become an issue, he says, “and you could see a position in a few years’ time where, in certain sectors, shipping assets may be trading at a significant discount if they are burning bunker fuel too heavily. Eco-ships will become an increasingly important subject in view of emission control areas (ECAs) and also the cost of expensive scrubbing technology, or vessel not being, technically, able to burn LNG, for example.
“I think operators understand the risk that their vessels may not be competitive in the future – but they are looking at bigger problems at the moment; changes in environmental requirements may not be in the forefront of financiers’ minds at the moment, although they will be keeping an eye on these risks too.”
Norton Rose asset finance lawyer Simon Lew adds: “The problems associated with the lack of capital in the industry mean that proposals to re-fleet with eco-ships are generally being forced on to the back burner. It isn’t good for the industry as a whole, and that is a direct result of the lack of capital.”
Article recently published by The Baltic – 19th Mar 2013, Felicity Landon