Energy efficiency - High savings potential still to be unlocked

The latest Energy Management Study conducted by DNV GL reveals that energy efficiency has achieved significant prominence throughout the industry.

Next generation energy management

Energy efficiency has become a competitive advantage – After SEEMPs became mandatory for the shipping industry, the study aimed at understanding in detail how the shipping industry has handled the need to increase energy efficiency in a challenging market environment. A large number of ship managers, owners and operators running more than 2,000 vessels with a fuel bill of about USD 25 billion participated. The results show that not only operators benefit from lower bunker costs. Effective energy management is also reflected in higher utilisation and charter rates of ships and therewith benefits also ship managers and owners. Companies that succeed in energy management have gained a competitive advantage. 

“High savings potential still awaits to be unlocked” – is Merten Stein’s synthesis on the recent Energy Management Study he did with his team from DNV GL Shipping Advisory. Leading players have already achieved energy savings of 10% and more. The majority of respondents, however, started their activities with low ambition of 2 – 3 % energy savings and finally realised only a part of it. Results indicate that it is these companies, which initially looked for SEEMP compliance only, while not spending enough (management) attention to anchor efficiency throughout the entire organisation.

Companies succeeding with energy management acknowledge the efforts that are required for successful implementation – “There is a lot to learn from industry best practices in terms of measures, anchoring, monitoring and performance management as well as cooperation with business partners. Even if resources are constrained,” concludes Merten Stein. There are a few success factors allowing the leaders to gain the full potential.

(1) Selection of far-reaching measures beyond weather routing and engine settings that also requires collaboration with business partners

(2) Daily management of energy consumption via smart dashboards visualising target values and current performance

(3) Explicit anchoring of energy management responsibilities in the organisation

(4) Supporting the implementation by change management activities, such as training and communication to facilitate the process of employees adapting to the new world

The industry has started realising energy management provides additional benefits other than compliance. Capabilities and time required for success should not be underestimated. Instead, energy efficiency should be embedded as part of the company culture and strategy, and aim at long-term initiatives and goals. “We are happy to share learnings from our study and from our vast project experience in this area” says Merten Stein.

Pressure to reduce fuel consumption will further increase with new efficient tonnage entering the market. Despite the impact energy efficiency can have, only very few companies have managed to position themselves as true experts in energy management. For those not having accomplished significant savings yet, it will become essential to increase fuel reduction. The near future will show who is really determined to master energy management and can turn it into a competitive advantage, and who will falter under the market pressure.

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