At a press conference at Nor-Shipping 2013, classification society Germanischer Lloyd (GL) said that the trend toward building and operating so called ECO-Ships, or highly energy efficient vessels, was irreversible, given the potential cost savings for the maritime industry. The rise of the ECO-Ship has been questioned, with some suggesting that this focus on efficiency would fade if bunker prices fell.
In a presentation held at the press conference Christian von Oldershausen, GL's Chief Commercial Officer, demonstrated how ECO-ships have substantial cost advantages over existing vessels, which has been borne out in a number of container vessel optimization projects undertaken throughout the world by GL. These advantages are found primarily at the concept design stage by targeting a vessel's real operating profile, wider beam and increased capacity. Another major driver lies in design optimization which focuses on hull lines, propulsion, onboard systems and next generation engines.
"Alongside lower yard prices, bunker will be a significant driver for cost savings in new vessels," Mr. von Oldershausen said after analyzing the composition of slot costs, made up of capital, operating, port/canal and bunker costs.
With fully optimized designs, savings are also stable across a whole range of operating speeds. Additionally, the new designs still generate substantial savings even setting aside the capital cost of an existing vessel. This meant that ECO container-ships offer benefits large enough to justify orders beyond that expected from the tonnage balance in the market.
"We believe that ECO-ships are now the norm both today and for the future. With owners seeing the benefits from new tonnage being up to a third more efficient than average existing vessels and customers insisting on better performance, we won't see many ships built that are not designed to minimize their fuel consumption and ecological impact," Mr. von Oldershausen said.