Athens/Greece 12 March 2012 – Identifying and seizing chances for improvement in a difficult business environment was the theme that ran through this year’s annual meeting of Germanischer Lloyd’s (GL) Hellenic Technical Committee, held in Athens on 8 March.
The dramatic increases in fuel prices, new regulations and an increased awareness of the importance of protecting the environment are leading ship builders, designers and owners to push against the established boundaries, developing smarter ships for tougher times. The meeting brings together representatives from the Greek maritime community every year, to hear and discuss presentations from both GL and external experts. Dimitrios Korkodilos, the Chairman of the Committee and Athanasios Reisopoulos, GL’s Area Manager for Southern Europe, joined with the CEO of the GL Group Erik van der Noordaa to welcome the participants, both old and new.
The shipping industry was still going through a difficult period, Matthias Ritters, GL’s Region Manager Europe/Middle East/Africa noted. Looking over the status and outlook for the shipping markets in 2012, the persistent weakness of the world economy and the oversupply in all segments would continue to have a significant impact, he said. Trade growth in the container markets was healthy but unevenly distributed, he said, with growth in the mainline routes from Asia to Europe and to the USA being outpaced by other trade routes. A record number of 10, 000+ TEU vessels had been delivered to these routes last year, resulting in rates dropping significantly.
In shipbuilding, contracting at South Korean yards had been relatively strong in 2011, Mr Ritters said, but even so there was significant capacity still idle at both South Korean and Chinese yards. Chinese yards had increased their capacity over the past years and were taking steps to further diversify their product portfolio, such as large container vessels, LNG tankers and offshore vessels. Looking ahead, he said, the impact of new energy efficient ship designs would be felt, while over capacity would put further downward pressure on newbuilding prices.
Fridtjof Rohde from GL’s consulting subsidiary FutureShip in his presentation “Chances of Improvement” looked at how, even in the tight conditions facing the industry today, there are many opportunities for finding and exploiting efficiencies to save fuel and money. The use of new computational techniques has opened up the design space for shipping, both in the development of new designs and in the ability to make improvements during conversions or upgrades, Mr Rohde noted. Upgrades to propellers, improving the wake field and appendages, and installing new “smart” software systems such as FutureShip’s ECO-Assistant, could significantly improve a vessel’s performance. While in newbuildings, the use of computational fluid dynamic techniques to optimise the hull form of an existing design, selecting the right engine and “smarting up” auxiliary systems, could result in improved competitiveness and a better bottom line.
In his presentation “Optimisation of a Cape Size Bulk Carrier design from the propulsion point of view” Nicholas Skiadaresis, Managing Director of ENES Marine Service S.A., looked at the potential for ship buyers to significantly improve the fuel consumption performance of the vessels they order through optimising the main engine and propeller combination of the vessel.
Based on a study of a series of Korean designed cape size bulk carriers, Mr Skiadaresis, showed how the optimal operating point could be found by identifying the lowest SFOC (specific fuel oil consumption) at the lowest RPM (revolutions per minute). From this an engine could be identified and matched with a propeller which could, through studying the required power for specific combinations of propeller diameter and pitch to diameter ratio, produce the most efficient results. Choosing an engine and matching propeller which was not in the base design would raise costs moderately, Mr Skiadaresis noted. But due to today’s extremely high fuel prices, he suggested that these improvements would have very short payback times.
Spacial constraints, in terms of the engine room length position of the shafting Centre line, base line to propeller tip clearance and aperture clearances were all factors which also had to be considered in finding the optimal combination he said, and which might also require adjustments to the vessel’s design. The result of this careful matching of engine and propeller resulted in fuel savings of some 11%, with further gains possible through the use of a NPT (new profile type) propeller. Reducing fuel consumption also produced knock on benefits which included reduced CO2 emissions and a better EEDI.
Mr. Aristidis Efstathiou, GL Business Development Manager Area Southern Europe, concluded the Meeting with his presentations on “SEEMP: Introduction and Implementation.” Mr. Efstathiou, highlighted the fact that the SEEMP will soon become mandatory for all vessels (larger than 400 GT) at their first IAPP renewal or intermediate survey after 01 January 2013.
In order to support its clients, Mr Efstathiou continued, GL has developed a clear guidance on the form and implementation of the SEEMP. He showed how GL’s user friendly standardized templates and energy management expertise could make it easier for a vessel’s operators to create a SEEMP, either as a stand alone document or as an integral part of a broader management system.
New members of the Committee are: Mr. Michael Androulakakis, Technical Manager of Avin International S.A., Mr. Chondros Pantelis, Technical Manager of Efnav Company Ltd, Mr. Georgios Kavounis, Technical Manager of Allseas Marine S.A., Mr. Dimitrios Kyriakakos, Technical Manager of Goldenport Shipmanagement Ltd., Mr. Kostas Maounis, Managing Director of Phoenix Energy Navigation, Mr. Spyros Psychas, Technical Manager of Odysea Carriers S.A. and Mr. Stylianos Vatistas, Technical Manager of Navarone S.A.