New vessels are less fuel-efficient than ones built in 1990, study says


A new study on ship design efficiency claims that vessels built in recent years are less fuel-efficient than those from decades ago.

The 'Historical trends in ship design efficiency' study was commissioned by Seas At Risk and Transport & Environment and supported by the European Climate Foundation.

According to the study, which was carried out by Netherlands-based CE Delft, the design efficiency of new-build ships improved significantly in the 1980s, reached a peak in the 1990s and deteriorated after that.

It claims that design efficiency in the 1980s and 1990s was up to 10% better than between 1999 and 2008.

"Despite a generation of technological improvements, ships have largely gone backwards for most of the past 25 years." 

The design efficiency of tankers improved by up to 28% in the 1980s, while it deteriorated by more than 10% in the 1990s.

In contrast, bulk carriers, tankers and containerships built in 2013 were on average 12%, 8% and 8% less fuel-efficient respectively, than those made in 1990.

Transport & Environment clean shipping manager Bill Hemmings was quoted by Gcaptain as saying: "Aircraft and cars have become more fuel-efficient, but despite a generation of technological improvements, ships have largely gone backwards for most of the past 25 years.

"The IMO's design efficiency standard for new ships itself needs a redesign and strengthening if the standard is not supposed to merely bring us back to levels achieved 25 years ago."

The study has analysed the factors that have contributed to fuel efficiency improvement and revealed that the efficiency improvements have been brought about by reductions in design speed.

In addition, improvements in hull design and propulsion efficiency have also contributed significantly to efficiency improvements in most cases.