Look beyond transit times to cut emissions, WWL boss says
Wallenius Wilhelmsen names new ship
Arild B. Iversen, chief executive officer of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, one of the world’s largest transporters of cars, believes its competitors and customers must stop viewing fast transit times as the key performance indicator if emissions reduction targets are to be met.
Delivering the keynote speech on the opening day of the RoRo 2008 Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, Iversen said vessel speeds drive cost upwards and increase emissions.
“A two-knot speed reduction from Asia to Europe would cut CO2 emissions per transported unit from 1,163 kilograms per car to 919 kgs per car, a cut of 21 percent, creating a significantly positive impact on the environment. Although voyage times would increase by four days, fuel consumption would drop by 17 percent.”
Iversen said roll-on/roll-off and vehicle carriers need to talk with their customers to find out whether they are prepared to accept the lengthier voyage times in return for helping the environment.
“We need to have a dialog with customers, politicians, shipbuilders, ports and other stakeholders to explore how we can minimize the ecological footprint of our industry. We should also explore new performance measurements that take the environment into account and not just the sailing time from port-to-port,” he said.
WWL and its rivals haven’t so far been able to copy container lines and slow their vessels due to the severe shortage of tonnage in the market. However, speaking with Shippers’ NewsWire last month at its headquarters in Lysaker, Norway, WWL announced plans to slow its ro/ro vessels from 19 knots to 18 knots starting in June, a situation made possible through investment in new ships by the joint owners, Sweden's Wallenius Lines and Norway’s Wilh. Wilhelmsen. Over the next four years, 25 “eco-friendly” ships will join WWL’s fleet, which stands at about 60 car carriers and ro/ro vessels servicing 20 trade routes. The new ships are said to be up to 15 percent more fuel efficient than earlier generation car carriers.
The company is widely recognized as one of shipping’s “green” leaders. Among other innovations, the two owners are developing a zero-emission concept ship, E/S Orcelle, that takes auxiliary power from the sun, wind and waves. When it comes to the fuel that propels its ships, WWL surpassed international requirements by deciding in 2004 to run all of its fleet with bunker fuel with a sulfur content of just 1.5 percent.
Speaking in April, Iversen said the owners' green policy hasn't so far resulted in any additional freight, but increasingly WWL is finding its customers are sharing the same concerns.
Kai Kraass, chief operating officer and head of ocean services and supply chain management, believes it is a strategy that will pay off in the long term. “If in the future you see customers choosing between different providers and seeing the need to demonstrate their environmentally conscious supply chain, we will have an advantage as we have being doing this since 1999 when we started the company. That's an investment in an intangible asset that we think is gong to be beneficial to us.” ' Simon Heaney