Fuel payers save more with advanced monitoring and optimisation solutions

18 Mar 2014
NAPA Voyage Optimisation is a ClassNK-NAPA Green module that reduces fuel consumption through voyage, speed and route optimisation, and weather routing

NAPA Voyage Optimisation is a ClassNK-NAPA Green module that reduces fuel consumption through voyage, speed and route optimisation, and weather routing

With success or failure increasingly dependent upon it, key players in the maritime industry are working together to develop operational efficiency software with enhanced precision measuring capability: Esa Henttinen, vice president at NAPA for operations, reports on the sea trials of one such product: ClassNK-NAPA Green.

Fuel economy, and its associated environmental impact, is the most important challenge facing ship owners, operators and shipbuilders today, who recognise the importance of increased efficiency in realising this goal. Retaining a competitive advantage in today’s maritime industry amid a backdrop of record high bunker prices and wave of new environmental regulations is becoming an increasingly difficult task for fuel payers.

While previously operational efficiency software was reserved for the industry’s most eco-conscious, the shift in emphasis from capital to operational expenditure - combined with stricter legislation such as emissions control areas (ECAs) and ship energy and efficiency management plans (SEEMP) - means environmental and financial value now go hand in hand in vessel operation. One route to achieving fuel cost savings is to use operational efficiency software that understands a vessel’s energy consumption and highlights areas where savings can be made. There is no ‘one size fits all’ option, due to the vast variations in design, ship patterns and cargo of both new and existing vessels, however, one critical deciding factor is the software’s monitoring accuracy that forms a baseline for optimisation.


With this in mind, one option is to use a dynamic performance model with 3D ship modelling that tunes the ship specific performance model on a continuous basis, taking into account factors such as wave and wind resistance, propeller efficiency and effect of different drafts to give very high accuracy in voyage optimisation, trim optimisation and performance reporting. NAPA has incorporated this technology in the latest version of its collaborative operational efficiency software ClassNK-NAPA Green optimisation. Not only does DPM support significant efficiency savings on a vessel-by-vessel basis, but when considering wider business performance of a ship owner, operator or charterer, accurate performance statistics can provide precise data straight to the boardroom that enables analysis of a new fleet’s future profitability. Such ‘proof of performance’ supports lower purchasing risk as it allows users to accurately plot revenue changes that would occur when sailing conditions are altered during, for example, speed changes or heavy weather conditions. The same principle applies to existing ships, where the software can be utilised to track performance of individual technical components, such as propellers, paints and hull modifications. This allows output of each component to be assessed and aids in prioritising areas for operational improvement.


Finnish ship operator Bore is currently assessing the impact of DPM on its fleet through a series of full-scale sea trials. ClassNK-NAPA Green optimisation is installed on Bore’s 2,863 lane-metre ro-ro cargo ship, Bore Sea, and has achieved fuel consumption reductions of 5.8%. Furthermore, additional savings of 10% have been identified and can be achieved through installation of a shaft generator frequency converter that enables the vessel engine to operate at variable rather than constant rpm. Such is the significance of the savings, that Bore has introduced ClassNK-NAPA Green optimisation to two additional vessels, the 2,863 lane-metre Bore Song and 1,606 lane-metre Seagard, and will shortly roll out the software to five other vessels in its ro-ro fleet. Across the three vessels already operating with the software, fuel savings of between 4% and 6% have been achieved, while operating the vessels at optimised speeds in accordance with their schedules. The program allows vessel speed to be optimised and controlled for weather and current conditions, lowering speed fluctuations over the entire duration of a voyage to achieve maximum fuel savings.

On a larger scale NAPA and ClassNK will shortly share data from in-depth sea trials onboard six different ships, including large container vessels, car carriers and bulk carriers. Initial analysis of the data from the container vessel studies look likely to show that ClassNK-NAPA Green optimisation can deliver more accurate trim, providing savings of 2%-4%. For voyage optimisation, savings of around 5% are feasible, through optimising factors such as schedule, speed profile, route and trim. Sea trials on the other vessels will be carried out shortly to get further proof of savings for different ship types.


In an environment where the market is highly proactive in seeking out products to boost vessel sustainability, ship owners, operators and charterers now see operational efficiency software as an integral part of overall energy efficiency plans for new and existing fleets. During the product selection process, NAPA advises users to consider hard data on fuel saving and efficiency capability, the more accurate the software’s technology, the greater the operational efficiency enhancements and cost savings.In fact, such is the synergy between the two collaborative partners in their joint approach to efficiency optimisation through software, that NAPA has now become part of ClassNK.

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