Maersk Line, one of the world's leading shipping companies and part of Denmark's A.P.Moller-Maersk, has launched a range of environmental initiatives that this year alone will result in fuel savings of about DKK 2.5bn (USD 500m), reports financial daily newspaper Børsen.
In recent years, Maersk Line, whose fleet comprises more than 500 vessels, has cut its fuel consumption per transported unit by 15% and plans to cut a further 20% by 2012. According to Eivind Kolding, head of the container business of A.P.Moller-Maersk, a 35% reduction will provide considerable savings to the company:
"The achieved 15% reduction in our fuel consumption per transported unit will lead to cost savings for Maersk Line this year in the region of half a billion dollars – provided that oil prices stay roughly on the level of this year." Kolding adds that there is still plenty of opportunity to find savings and that when the 2012 target has been met, a new one will be set.
Environmental initiatives that have been implemented include improved ship design, recovery of waste heat from engines and "slow steaming". The latter means that if a ship is not under time pressure to reach its destination, it can significantly reduce fuel consumption by marginally lowering its speed. For example, a 20% reduction in speed results in a 50% reduction in fuel consumption and an equivalent percentage reduction in CO2 emissions.
More than 100 ships in the Maersk Line fleet have used slow steaming since 2007. For a post-Panamax container ship, slow steaming can save 3,500 tons of fuel, corresponding to USD 1m, and 10,000 tons of CO2 annually.