MARITIME | Maersk says slow steaming is a ‘win-win-win situation’

Line sets out case for reduced ship speeds as container trades are recovering

SLOW steaming is here to stay,Maersk Line has told its customers,writes Janet Porter [for LLOYD’S LIST].

In a message on its website, the Danish carrier has set out the case for reduced ship speeds at a time when the container trades are recovering but prospects for the global economy remain murky.

As far as Maersk is concerned, slow steaming “remains a win-win-win situation”, says chief executive Eivind Kolding.

“It is better for our customers, better for the environment and better for our business.”

A ship that reduces speed by 20% will use 40% less fuel, thereby reducing CO2 emissions correspondingly. To maintain the same service frequency and compensate for a lower average speed, one to two extra vessels are added per string.

“Despite the extra vessels, slow steaming has over the last one and a half years reduced Maersk Line’s CO2 emissions by about 7% per container moved,” the line said.

Furthermore, schedule reliability has improved since vessels are able to continuously adjust speed in order to deliver the cargo on time.

“We believe we serve our customers best by steadily improving schedule reliability, by keeping fuel costs down and by continuing to improve on our carbon footprint,” said Mr Kolding. “The cost savings will enable us to further invest in innovation and improved service, for example with more efficiency at terminals.”

Although some customers have complained about longer inventory time — in essence with Maersk Line ships as floating warehouses — analysis shows that slow steaming also helps prevent bottlenecks at terminals.

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