Energy Efficiency, Vessel Versatility Central in Future Maritime Transportation

MarineLink.com
Thursday, August 29, 2013

The future dry cargo vessel must be able to adjust quickly to changing transportation needs. The Finnish industrial production structure is anticipated to change and therefore maritime transportation ought to be tighter integrated to production chains. The cargo ship must be versatile and flexible as the transportation needs and cargo types may change within short time intervals. In light of energy efficiency, LNG is considered the best near future marine fuel alternative.  

These results are presented in three individual Master´s thesis produced at Aalto University. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the Finnish international maritime transport volume development and change factors of the industrial and operational environment, an optimal future vessel concept was established. The vessel conceptualization work was supported by “Laiva 2025” background report, compiled by the Centre for Maritime Studies at the University of Turku, and future scenarios drawn up by an expert working group.

The Finnish industry is expected to concentrate on the production of higher value added and small volume niche products instead of mass-produced articles. Accelerating technological and economic trends also support the versatility features of a vessel. Finland´s future competitiveness relies not only on improving multipurpose vessel concepts, but also on matters such as the need for intensified cooperation between industries, logistics operators, suppliers and shipowners thus underpinning efficient imports and exports regardless Finland´s northerly location.

Change factor management and effective maritime transportation crucial for Finland´s competitiveness

Finland´s future international competiveness heavily relies on the success of foreign trade and in particular that of export of industry and services sectors. The absolute majority of both exports and imports is transported by sea and therefore it is imperative that Finland operates a fleet that is optimally adapted to serve the Finnish foreign trade with regard to change factors in the operational environment. The Finnish industry and logistics sectors, in particular within the technology, forest and chemical industry fields, are currently undergoing significant structural changes. Factors affecting the operational environment and competitiveness of these aforementioned industries include e.g. energy efficiency, management of environmental impacts, increasing automation and technological development, and logistical costs.

The Baltic Sea is one of the most heavily sailed seas in the world and the merchant traffic volumes are anticipated to grow further in the decades to come. By 2030, the international maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea is forecasted to grow in excess of 200 million metric tons, equaling a relative growth of a third.

New solutions are generated in cooperation

Laiva 2025 is a joint venture project comprising research institutes and enterprises including the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovations (TEKES), Cargotec Finland Oy, ESL Shipping Oy, Oy Langh Ship Ab, Outokumpu Stainless Oy, Stora Enso Oyj, Wärtsilä Finland Oy, Aalto University and Centre for Maritime Studies at University of Turku. 

From Wärtsilä´s point of view, “Laiva 2025” project is an excellent example of how freighters, shipowners and solution providers can in cooperation with universities come up with new solutions and concepts that serve the interests of merchant shipping, said Ilkka Rytkölä, General Manager at Wärtsilä Finland Oy. Besides future scenarios, commercial development trends and technical solutions, “Laiva 2025” has provided a unique opportunity for networking and cooperation among various actors. Consequently, the next joint venture project encompassing future seaborne energy transports is well under preparation, Rytkölä continued.     
 

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