There is no doubt that decarbonisation is at the top of the agenda for the maritime industry, with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) seeking a minimum reduction in marine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 50% by 2050, and a 70% reduction in the carbon intensity of emissions by the same year. 

Digital technology for the future

According to Inmarsat’s Research Programme, by using digital technologies alone, shipping can achieve a 38% reduction in GHG emissions at short order and at a fraction of the cost. This would equate to 76% of the decarbonisation efforts required by the IMO to meet its goal. 

Studies suggest that voyage profitability can be significantly enhanced by operations optimisation alone. Eliminating unplanned downtime using condition-based monitoring can also increase margins by up to 50%, says Inmarsat provider TechBinder . The key is deploying connected digital technologies.

In a study by the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that digital technologies will only represent 10% of the US$ 1–1.9 trillion estimated cumulative capital investment needed to decarbonise the shipping industry yet will yield 76% of the decarbonisation effort.

Driving transformation with digital technology

Optimising and decarbonising ships requires a range of technologies on board to improve fleet utilisation, streamline commercial processes, reduce CO2 emissions, develop operational preparedness and enable ship-to-shore transparency.

Our wholly owned and operated Fleet Xpress connectivity service is uniquely designed for maritime and offers a range of edge solutions to harness the power of the connected maritime ecosystem and drive decarbonisation efforts.

Fleet Data, our Internet of Things (IoT) platform, enables ship owners to collect, transfer, store and analyse their onboard IoT data, and secure access to maritime software applications such as real-time emissions monitoring. These apps empower decision-making surrounding the reduction of fuel consumption.

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Delivering results: Zero North

In March 2022, Inmarsat CAP ZeroNorth revealed that its platform had prevented 218,000 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere throughout 2021, a year in which maritime emissions increased by 4.9%.

By combining a variety of vessel, market, bunker and weather data with its algorithms, the ZeroNorth platform suggests a ‘green route’ that considers emissions and profitability to improve or maintain the vessel’s CII ratings.

Back in 2020, ship operator Cargill reported achieving an overall reduction of 5% in CO2 emissions per cargo-tonne-mile against a 2016 baseline, partly as a result of its partnership with ZeroNorth.

Capturing and distributing real-time operational data has also resulted in impressive results for Siem Offshore. In a 30-day campaign in 2020, the Siem fleet was able to achieve a 20.7% increase in efficiency by reducing oil and gas consumption and limiting nitrogen oxide (NOx) and CO2 emissions, saving US$ 344,733 in the process. According to VPS, vessels equipped with its Maress platform saved a combined 50,000 tons of CO2 in 2020.

Outstanding fuel savings: Nautilus Labs

Inmarsat customer Eastern Pacific Shipping has installed software from another Inmarsat Certified Application Provider, Nautilus Labs, across its 150-strong fleet, which consists of a mix of tankers, bulk carriers, gas carriers and containerships, as well as pure car and truck carriers.

To illustrate the potential of the software, Nautilus data, extracted via Fleet Data, was used by the bridge team on a tanker voyage from Scotland to Nigeria and onwards to Indonesia.

Despite the ship needing to stop in South Africa for a medical emergency, the dynamic data feeds of the Nautilus platform manifested a 30.5 Metric Ton (MT) fuel saving and 4% uplift in time charter equivalent earnings (a measure of profitability) throughout the voyage. Moreover, 95 MT of CO2 emissions was avoided – the equivalent of taking 21 average family cars off the road for an entire year.

Informing efficient decision-making: VPS

North Sea Shipping has been using the VPS Maress software application for several years and recently made the transition from manual reporting to high-frequency data extraction via Fleet Data on its vessel North Sea Giant.

As a result of this upgrade, the company is seeing concrete benefits including more detailed insight into how it operates its vessels, which allows it to make more precise decisions to further optimise its operations. In addition, engagement is higher, both in the office and on the vessels, thanks to the high-frequency data supplied by Maress, which makes the platform interesting to use.

This systematic approach to emissions reduction and data-driven efficiency led to CO2 savings of 9% in 2021, equal to more than 3,000 tons of CO2, as presented in North Sea’s recent ESG report for 2021.   The positive trend continues, with North Sea Giant, one of the vessels using Maress software, has achieved more than 10% emission reductions YTD in 2022, an impressive 11.8% fuel reduction in 2022 compared to its own historic baseline.


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