New tools developed at DTU Management allow for optimizing the speed of the cargo ships by adjusting the berthing times. “If you can allow a ship to sail a bit slower while still making sure that all containers arrive at their destination in due time, you save fuel and improve sustainability,” says professor David Pisinger, heading the group at DTU Management. The research has been carried out in collaboration with Maersk Line and Aalborg University. The project is sponsored by the Danish Maritime Fund.
Professor David Pisinger, DTU Management
“From the outset, we were confident that we would be able to show some savings. However, due to the many constraints in the system – the containers have to arrive at certain dates, etc. – we were really surprised to see that it was actually possible to gain as much as 4-5 percent.”
Little savings add up
The International Maritime Organization has stated a goal to reduce the CO2 emission from shipping by 50 percent before 2050.
“There is still a long way from 4-5 percent to 50 percent, but it is a good start, and actually if we remove various business constraints, we can reach up to 8-9 percent savings,” says David Pisinger.
“What we have looked at is historical data. The potential is significantly higher if the algorithms are run on real-time data and the velocities of the ships optimized during ongoing operation. Further, our modeling (modelling – med to L’er hvis det er britisk) has had to be for average vessels. In real life, the condition of the individual ship is quite important. For instance, if we get better measures of fuel consumption on each leg, or we have more precise estimates of loading/unloading times, we can make a more precise model and save more fuel. This can be the subject of further improvements and hopefully incorporated in future versions of the software.”
Let’s shuffle the deck of cards
On his expectations for the track on Sustainable Shipping at DTU High Tech Summit 2019, David Pisinger says:
“First of all, I look forward to good, frank discussions. Also, it will be nice to shuffle the deck of cards in the sense that not only will representatives from the shipping industry and maritime research be present, but hopefully also people from outside the sector, not least suppliers of software and devices which could be applied to good use in shipping.”
The footprint of shipping
Shipping accounts for 2.2 percent of global CO2 emissions. The CO2 emission from transporting 1 ton of goods 1 km by a modern container carrier is 3 grams, as compared to 18 grams by train, 45 grams by truck, and 560 grams by plane.
“It’s no use closing your eyes to the changes. We need to constantly keep up and try to influence the process.”
Professor Jan Madsen, DTU Compute