Brian Ladin Explores Big Changes Made in the Booming Container Shipping Industry and the Impact it has on our Planet
Container shipping is one of the most popular modes of transportation in the world. And while it has connected the world, it does have its drawbacks. One of which is that container shipping poses major problems for the environment. The shipping industry is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, however, like all industries, they have been working to right the wrongs of the past in order to reduce the negative impact that the industry has on the environment. Brian Ladin has witnessed firsthand the transformation that the industry has undergone in recent years. Below, Brian Ladin outlines three major changes that the booming container shipping industry has made in order to reduce its environmental impact.
According to Brian Ladin, one of the most significant changes the container shipping industry is taking in order to reduce its environmental impact is the introduction of electric-powered vessels. Today, ships are some of the biggest environmental polluters, emitting as much CO2 as 70,000 cars and as much nitrogen oxide and carcinogenic particles as 2 million and 2.5 million cars, respectively. These staggering statistics prove that the shipping industry needs to change. And this starts with converting fleets from petroleum fueled to electric, shares Brian Ladin. The first step in this transition was taken years ago by the International Maritime Organization who made it a requirement that all ships log their petroleum. This newfound process made it possible for the United Nations to be able to set targets for the reduction of the shipping industry’s carbon footprint. Although this was a necessary first step, shipping companies such as Delos Shipping have recognized the urgency of the climate crisis and have already taken it a step further by designing electric and hybrid ships. Many shipping companies around the world have taken the plunge and converted to diesel-electric transmission, which is the first step towards becoming fully hybrid soon. This initiative taken by leading ship engine designers coupled with the strict regulations set out by the United Nations and the International Maritime Organization are all facilitating the 100% electric future of the container shipping industry.
Slow Steaming and “Smart Steaming”
Slow steaming is the process whereby ships reduce the speed at which they travel through the water in order to reduce fuel consumption. Slowing down a large container ship by 6 knots can reduce the amount of fuel to travel 500 nautical miles by over 30%. This is because the force of drag caused by a fluid like water increases quadratically with speed. So, if a ship were to double its speed, it would be using four times as much fuel. Conversely, the opposite is true. Reduce its speed, and you can save a significant amount of fuel. Brian Ladin claims that although the main benefit of slow steaming was initially perceived as being cost-effective, scientists have come to realize that it has a much more significant benefit: lowering the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and thereby lowering the shipping industry’s carbon footprint. The trade off with slow steaming is that travel time is increased. However, that is where the technologically savvy practice of “smart steaming” comes in, shares Brian Ladin. Smart steaming allows for the travel time of a ship to be perfectly optimized based on real-time issues pertaining to the ocean. These include changes in weather or circumstances at the ship’s port of destination. For example, smart steaming enables ships to find out if there is congestion at the port they are traveling to. If there is, then there is no point in the ship rushing to its destination as its fate would be just to sit in a berth for days. Thanks to this new function, the ship can travel more slowly, conserving fuel and reducing emissions along the way.
Energy Efficient Vessel Design
If you are not a ship aficionado, you may not have realized that the design of a ship has a major impact on how energy-efficient is. Brian Ladin of Delos Shipping asserts that the shape of the hull, rudder, and propeller have the most significant impact on a ship’s energy consumption. When these three features are designed to abide by the guidelines set forth by the Energy Efficient Design Index, they can reduce a ship’s fuel consumption by as much as 15%. With these findings in mind, new vessels in the container shipping industry are striving to meet these guidelines, and some companies are even renovating their existing fleet to meet this new energy efficient industry standard.