While other solutions do show promise in the longer term, just-in-time arrivals can rapidly reduce bunker fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, writes PortXchange Director of Product, Robbert Engels
In recent years, the shipping industry has focused on how to improve efficiency and reduce fuel consumption through ship design and research into alternative fuels. On the port side, meanwhile, we have seen the majority of investment go into physical infrastructure, rather than be allocated to the optimization of operations. Too little attention has been paid to the contributions that just-in-time (JIT) arrivals can make in these areas.
Whereas advances in design, fuel innovations and improvements to physical infrastructure may take years or perhaps even decades to put in place and activate, JIT exists right now and can be implemented immediately. Moreover, as PortXchange can confidently demonstrate, the benefits of JIT can be seen and measured within a very short space of time.
For those readers who may be unfamiliar with the concept, JIT involves intelligently and progressively moderating the speed a ship is travelling along its route so that its arrival in port takes place at the optimal time, when tugs, pilots and berth are all readily available. This leads to more efficient port operations, more timely onward transportation of goods, and reductions in both greenhouse gas emissions and fuel costs. It helps eliminate the ongoing problem of ships spending 5 – 10% of their time (and burning large amounts of fuel) waiting to get into port (Source: Just in Time Arrival Guide: barriers and potential solutions, IMO).
Offering a centralized platform for sharing real-time data to more efficiently coordinate the various actors in the maritime logistics chain during a port call, PortXchange specializes in facilitating JIT. Our platform allows ships to better communicate with ports, particularly during the crucial final 48 hours of a voyage, and adjust speeds to ensure timely arrival — consequently, often dramatically cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
In December 2020, the results were announced of an exercise quantifying the benefits of JIT, utilizing PortXchange. The month-long exercise, jointly conducted by representatives of IMO, the Port of Rotterdam, and ship companies Maersk and MSC, demonstrated that where speed was optimized in the final 12 hours of the journey, ships consumed 9% less fuel than under normal, non-JIT conditions.
“The potential savings in emissions and bunker costs are enormous,” Emile Hoogsteden, Port of Rotterdam director for containers, breakbulk and logistics, told press upon release of the study’s results. “What this shows is having standardization, sharing data, and digital tools like PortXchange really helps.”
The benefits of JIT extend far beyond the financial. Currently releasing some 1.1 billion tonnes of CO2 each year, shipping is responsible for about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have shown that by reducing speeds across the global fleet by 20% — a potential byproduct of JIT — we may be able to reduce shipping’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by up to 34% (Source: Regulating speed: a short-term measure to reduce maritime GHG emissions, CE Delft).
The JIT arrival graph displayed below shows the actual (blue) and recommended (green) vessel speed, advised by PortXchange.
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By looking at the difference in emissions between the vessel that has optimized its speed and the vessel that has not, we can gauge the potential savings in terms of CO2 and fuel.
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Results may varying per port, carrier, vessel size, but on average we observe around 7 -25 tonnes of CO2 saved per port call for parties that work with PortXchange.
If the world is to meet the targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement, by 2050, total annual greenhouse gas emissions must fall to a level that is 60% of the 1990 benchmark. To achieve this ambitious but vital goal, emissions from transport and logistics need to be drastically diminished, reduced to numbers 85 to 95% lower than their 1990 levels within the next three decades. There’s a lot of work to do, and very little time in which to do it.
While better ship design and cleaner, more efficient alternative fuel sources must be sought, we cannot afford to ignore the immediate potential for JIT to help the shipping sector play its part in reducing emissions and alleviating climate change — today.
Want to see PortXchange in action? Check out this 5-minute Demo that illustrates how PortXchange helps to facilitate JIT.