A consortium of 13 maritime companies has just launched a collaborative platform to eliminate the practice of sail fast, then wait that currently causes unnecessary emissions and feeds into port congestion. By tackling rush to wait, their Blue Visby platform aims to reduce emissions from maritime journeys by 15%.
Essentially, Blue Visby uses digital technology to optimise and stagger arrival times for groups of vessels travelling to the same port, with an algorithm providing an optimal arrival time for each vessel. This enables ships to slow down, cutting their fuel consumption and emissions, but still keep their place in the queue and arrive one after the other, which reduces unnecessary waiting times outside ports. This is complemented by a contractual framework which introduces a sharing mechanism to address the problem of split incentives.
The mechanism enables stakeholders on each voyage including shipowners, charterers and cargo interests to share the costs and benefits of the implementation of the Blue Visby Solution, including fuel savings, the costs of a lengthier journey, and the financial value of emissions reductions where applicable.
If applied globally, the backers of the solution claim it has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the global shipping fleet by more than 60m tonnes of CO2 per year – a figure larger than the total emissions of an entire country like Norway.
Based on extensive analysis of 2019 shipping data from 150,000 voyages by 13,000 cargo ships in the 150 most visited ports, Finnish tech firm NAPA estimates that the Blue Visby Solution will enable vessels to reduce their speed by about 1 knot on average, which is well within the operational parameters of the existing commercial fleet. Speed could be reduced on 87% of the voyages, leading to shorter idle times and an average emissions savings potential of 16%.
The Blue Visby consortium is coordinated jointly by NAPA and maritime law experts from the international law firm Stephenson Harwood. Other members of the consortium include Anglo-American, Carbon Trust, ClassNK, CMB, Drewry, Ocean Conservancy, Lloyd’s, the UK Hydrographic Office, the University of Manchester, Tankers International, and Vertis.
Pekka Pakkanen, executive vice president at NAPA Shipping Solutions, said Blue Visby brings most of the benefits of just-in-time arrivals, without most of the problems.