Global shipping company APL, Hyundai Heavy Industries and DNV collaborated to develop a hull that the companies say will make ultra-large container ships 20 percent more fuel efficient, per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), than existing designs.
The hull design, which will be used in APL’s 10 new container ships, has been optimized for an operating profile along the Far East-to-Europe trade route involving nine speed and draught combinations. The ships will be the most fuel-efficient models ever built for the Asia-Europe container trade, APL said.
The annual fuel savings will be worth about $3 million per ship to APL. The improvements in efficiency and fuel savings will help the company reduce slot costs and remain competitive, APL said.
The first of the 13,800-TEU ships is under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries and will be delivered next year.
Container ships traditionally spend much of their time operating at “off-design” conditions, which increases hull resistance and reduces propeller and engine efficiency, APL said. These new ships will operate at speeds ranging from 15 to 19.5 knots, but with a maximum speed of about 23 knots. The three companies used software and virtual sea trials to analyze the proposed trading pattern of the ships and optimize the design accordingly.
Shipping companies, such as Maersk Line, have focused on reducing energy consumption and improving efficiency as fuel costs rise and regulations tighten. Maersk saved almost $90 million in energy costs over three years by measuring the performance of individual vessels. The effort increases Maersk’s fleet propulsion efficiency and saved 160,000 tons of fuel since 2009, the company said in July. The figure doesn’t include savings from other energy initiatives such as trim optimization or basic load reduction.
Last October, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative – a group of major shipping companies including Maersk, Rio Tinto, Cargill and BP Shipping – pledged to pioneer methods for stakeholders to compare sustainability performance, in an effort to improve the industry’s environmental impacts.