SLOW STEAMING - A transient fashion or here to stay?
Slow Steaming encompasses the operation of vessels at slower than maximum commercial speed, while adding a ship to the container service to keep the original frequency.
Certainly not a new issue, the Slow Steaming phenomenon has returned to the liner trades in full force since 2007. Initially, this was driven by the need of saving fuel costs, soon thereafter followed by other imperatives of addressing over-capacity, reducing harmful emissions and ... empty pockets.
By mid-2008 half of the 31 North Europe-Far East slings had slowed down, plus a handful of others. An extensive assessment in the publication shows that 2 years later, modern box vessels cruising slower than ships in the era of sail can be found be found in all major East-West and North-South trades. The joint capacity of all slowed down bottoms is nearly half of that of the total containership fleet, with the number of extra vessels tight into the Slow Steaming services making up for some 8%.
Slow Steaming is a multi-faceted strategy, affecting many sectors of the liner trades and raising a multitude of questions, including:
- how it serves the environment
- the actual speeds
- the container box fleet
- the effect on the total fleet
- the savings (per knot, per service, per TEU)
- the logistics effect
- the number of ships and carriers involved
- the possible alternatives
- the scheduling and integrity of services
- the technical side of the matter
- what’s in it for the shipper, and:
the future of Slow Steaming once full recovery is there, capacity tightens again, and/or fuel prices sink.
All these topics are brought together in a unique, August 2010-published comprehensive report:
SLOW STEAMING: A transient fashion or here to stay?
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