New Trends in the Shipping Industry

New Trends in the Shipping Industry

Apart from bizarre events like the 2021 blocking of the Suez Canal after the grounding of a 20,000 TEU container ship called Ever Given, we are few and far between reading news or an article about shipping in the mainstream media. However, because the vast majority of, approximately %90, goods are moved by sea, the developments in shipping directly affect the running of everyday life. Consequently, it is highly important to be aware of the new trends in shipping for not only the professionals but also the everyday citizen.

Smart Containers

Loss of containers during poor weather is one of the tedious issues in shipping. It not only challenge cargo transportation but also damaged economically the industry. Smart containers, equipped with pre-installed sensors, can help safer and more sustainable supply chain. In favour of a little chip put inside a container, container owners will be able to collect data in every aspect such as temperature inside and location of it instantly. GPS tracking will deliver a solution for lost containers.

Automation and digitalization become more and more appreciable in the industry. With the help of digital sensors by smart containers, less repositioning and more efficient use of fuel will be possible. Recoveries will be efficacious because an empty container supply seems to be the bust-up. Approximately $20 billion a year is wasted on unnecessary fuel consumption for supplying empty containers.

Benefits are not limited to that, improvements in reducing carbon emissions are also expected. Research from the Boston Consulting Group has formerly stated that avoiding empty container shipping could allow a saving of six million tons of carbon emissions.

Mega Ships

Ships with more than 10.000 twenty-foot equivalent units or simply TEU are regarded as mega-ships. The largest one is the Ever Ace with a capacity of 23,992 TEU. It has a 400-meter length and breadth of 61.53 meters. With every passing year, larger and more sophisticated designs are entering the building process. Besides, there are convincing reasons behind the madness of the will for the bigger.

Most importantly,  reducing vessel costs per transported container by roughly a third is provided thanks to doubling the maximum ship size in recent years. Cost savings, according to the International Transport Forum, will gradually decrease with size. Thus, in the next couple of years, savings will be four to six times smaller than the existing ones. Also, mega-ships operate more efficiently. Compared to a 16,000 TEU vessel, a mega-ship with 19,000 TEU would save close to 1 million USD.


It is crystal clear that sustainability is an issue for the industry to face. The impact on the emissions to air is on a distressing level. To prioritise, the greenhouse gas emissions is the uppermost.  The industry needs to capitalize on it for the sake of minimizing the long-term impact on Earth. While the problems are starkly apparent, the essential is to find a solution. Thankfully there is one that stands out: LNG as a marine fuel.

The improvements on LNG bunkering infrastructure continue at full steam. Is it any wonder..? Attractive fuel prices plus the environmental benefits give countenance to fast developments. According to the article published by the DNV, the benefits are:

– LNG-fuelled vessels can reduce their EEDI rating by 20%, while their Carbon Intensity Indicator will be reduced by approximately the same amount.

-Competitive vessel design ensures upcoming compliance some ten years longer than conventional designs.

-Reduces NOx emissions by up to 80% and almost eliminates SOx, particulate matter (PM)

-GHG emissions can be reduced by up to 23% with modern engine technology.

Biogas and drop-in fuels offer a path to further reducing vessel carbon intensity.

Greener shipping

In its 125th session, The International Maritime Organization Council has chosen ‘new technologies for greener shipping’ as the World Maritime theme for 2022. Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of the Organization, said that the theme would provide an opportunity to focus on the importance of a sustainable maritime sector and the need to build back better and greener in a post-pandemic world.

Neither Kyoto Protocol in 1997 nor Paris Climate Accords in 2015 dealt with shipping. The whole responsibility is in the hands of the IMO. On the grounds that the shipping industry is responsible for around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually, which is at least 2.5% of the world’s total CO2 emissions, IMO aimed to cut these emissions by 50% by 2050. There are also some sanctions to make certain improvements. The Emissions Trading System requires polluters to pay for each tonne of CO2 they generate.

As a result, new technologies for remediating the issues are underway. For instance, global shipping giant Maersk has started a project for eight new carbon-neutral container vessels. About 1 million tonnes of savings in CO2 is expected after the project is concluded and the new ships replaced the predecessors. Also, the attempts to remediate the issue are not limited to these –  low carbon fuels, more streamlined hulls and cutting edge technologies for making saves on fuels are also on the front burner.

Renewable energy for shipping

To power the fleets of the future, the shipping industry go towards renewable energy. Up to now, the project called Turanor PlanetSolar, a catamaran that circumnavigated the globe and is powered by 29,000 solar cells, showed the probability. You might think that the project is once in a blue moon and not compatible enough to work on cargo ships yet some attention-grabbing enterprises will possibly shape shipping’s future.

The Aquarius Eco Ship concept design, for instance, is a low emission concept focusing on optimizing the design of ocean-going ships with rigid sails and solar power. 1 MWp of solar power and enough energy storage modules bring forth no need to use auxiliary diesel generators whilst in port. In addition, rotated and lowered sails not only stored the energy but also protected from harsh weather. A similar project called Oceanbird has a familiar solution as a telescopic wing sails where you can adjust the height of the sails by pushing sections up and down, between 20 to 105 meters. They also claim up to 7000 cars to be carried in the cargo ship by crossing the Atlantic in 12 days instead of 8 as usual cargo ships.

Herewith, in the way of making shipping sustainable and eco-friendly, the intentions seem like sooner or later bring results.

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