Just-In-Time trial at Port of Rotterdam demonstrates fuel savings

The Port of Rotterdam, Maersk, MSC, IMO and Inchcape Shipping were involved in the trial

A desktop trial of ‘Just-In-Time’ ship operations at the Port of Rotterdam has yielded positive results in demonstrating the potential to significantly reduce vessel emissions, according to the IMO-led Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA).

Just-In-Time (JIT) port operations aim to cut the time ships spend idling outside ports by communicating relevant information about the requested time of arrival to the ship in advance, allowing the ship to adjust to the optimum speed required to arrive when berthing space is available.

The time that the ship is requested to arrive at the pilot boarding place is dependent on a number of variables, including the availability of the terminal as well as pilots and tugs, but that information is often only sent when the ship is already relatively close to port.

During the desktop trial, a voyage between Bremerhaven and Rotterdam (a distance of 247nm) was simulated twice. In the first ‘business as usual’ scenario, the ship received an update on when it is requested to arrive at the pilot boarding place at the first Calling In Point (when the ship is in VHF radio range around 30nm from port), as is standard practice.

In the second Just-In-Time scenario, the ship received several updates on when to arrive at the pilot boarding place, starting sooner in the voyage than would be usual. The ship could then adjust speed to optimise the voyage based on the changing circumstances.

Comparing the two scenarios, 23% less fuel was consumed in the Just-In-Time scenario, the testing partners note.

“More validation is needed and ultimately a real-time Just-in-Time trial – which is what we are working towards,” said IMO Technical adviser Astrid Dispert.

“But the desktop exercise showed the potential and the clear benefit that early communication between ships, port authorities and terminals can bring as it allows speed optimisation during the voyage.”

Data from this exercise will be fed into a Just-In-Time guide being prepared by the GIA, a public-private partnership initiative of the IMO, under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project.

The exercise was conducted by representatives from the Port of Rotterdam, Maersk, MSC, IMO and Inchcape Shipping.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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