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Danish Cargo Ship Fleet Cuts Fuel Use 30% By Going Half Speed

Posted on March 5th, 2010 at 10:05 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


Until two years ago, the Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk had been sending its cargo ships across the seas at full throttle, vying to get supplies to their destination as fast as possible–and every other shipping company was doing the same. It seemed at the time the most efficient way of doing business. But in order to do so, the company was running its ships at far beyond the maximum fuel efficiency levels. So, two years ago, Maersk decided to slow things down. Now, a trip that used to take 3 weeks instead takes a month. But they’re reaping huge savings in fuel use, costs and greenhouse gas reductions–by as much as 30%.

  1. So they are losing 4 trips a year and spending an extra week on pay. My guess this is because shipping quantity is down and they can’t load to capacity to justify a three week turn around. Once the quantity of shipping goes up, I’m willing to bet they are at three weeks again.

  2. Fuel is by far the largest ongoing expense running these ships. The Danish fleet is about the most modern in the world today, using the fewest possible crew, and one of the best managed from many perspectives. Compared to fuel, crewing costs are negligible. If they speed up again when shipping volumes go up, my guess is that they will speed things up incrementally until they find where the “sweet spot” is in time vs. efficiency.

  3. AFAIK their speed is comparable to that of a sailing boat.

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