Ship Efficiency – Regulation or Economics?

The following article was initially published in the Isle of Man Maritime Blog by Dick Welsh Director of Isle of Man Ship Registry. I recently attended London’s Inaugural International Shipping Week. A very successful week, with great support from all in the industry. During the week, I attended a number of high level conferences, with some very distinguished speakers, where the topic of fuel efficiency for ships was never far away.

2013.11.05 - Ship Efficiency Regulation or Economics

Five years on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which proved to be the starting point for a global economic collapse which nobody could have predicted, the shipping industry is dusting itself down and working on future strategies to see itself prosper once again.

At the heart of the recovery is the need for ships to be more fuel efficient. We have seen a difficult market with too many ships chasing too few cargoes in recent times, with the increasing price of fuel only adding to ship owners’ woes. It follows that the more fuel efficient ships stand a better chance of getting the cargo. Simple economics. Or is it?

Adding to the drive for greater fuel efficiency is the industry’s need to develop and sustain a ‘greener’ image. With transportation by sea already the most fuel efficient means of transporting raw materials and finished products by a long way, there is still international pressure and a recognition by the industry that this needs to be improved. To this end, the industry’s international regulatory body, the IMO, has established new measures for ships to determine their fuel efficiency and a timetable for compliance.

Now owners are seeking the next best thing in new fuel technologies and ship design to provide the ‘Eco-ship’, which will give them the upper hand in securing cargoes for some time to come and to provide surety that their ships will comply with current and future environmental regulations applied to shipping.

So ship efficiency is a very hot topic. If we get it right we can get ships back on a much more stable economic platform, prove to the world that shipping is doing all it can to reduce its environmental impact, and create a sustainable future. It is a win-win situation as long as the regulation and the economics go hand in hand.

Author - Dick Welsh, Isle of Man The article, reproduced here with the author’s kind permission, was written by Mr. Dick Welsh and was initially published in Isle of Man Maritime Blog. Dick Welsh is the Director of IOM Ship Registry at Isle of Man Government, a Marine and Mechanical Engineer with with over 30 years’ experience in the shipping industry. The Isle of Man Ship Registry stands in the world’s top 15 in terms of tonnage and the Isle of Man Red Ensign is becoming the flag of choice for an increasing number of quality ship owners and operators, attracting new tonnage from blue-chip clients around the globe.

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