Assessing the slow streaming strategy in shipping

Slow steaming is the traditional method applied in transporting industry to cut down liner velocity. It was introduced as a response to environmental issues, over capacity in the transportation industry and unfortunate trading state of affairs in European markets ( Windsor, 2010 ) . At present slow steaming schemes have been implemented by most shipping lines but during the clip of enlargement of container market, it was non considered as sustainable.

Background for slow steaming scheme

Slow steam scheme has larger influence on the full industry, from lading proprietors, bearers, ship proprietors and operators, to equipment makers. The factors that resulted in application of slow steam are stated below

Recession in the planetary economic system which resulted in diminution of demand in transit

Sudden downswing in transportation monetary value

Increasing fuel monetary value

Increasing operating costs ( manning, lube oil, care )

The planetary funding crisis

Worsening cargo charges, which in bend set uping charter rates.

Rapid growing of new ships

The above factors had larger consequence on full value concatenation and during this clip transporting industry was under tonss of force per unit area.In order to hook up with the state of affairs the industry has to happen all sorts of cost decrease methods like slow toss offing new ship orders, call offing bing orders, puting up and idleness of vass and chiefly the slow steaming ( Weismann, 2010 ) .

Slow -Steaming

The biggest individual factor that impacting a container ship is the fuel cost and decelerate steaming is a procedure of cut downing the velocity of ocean line drives to pare down both capacity and cost. An ocean traveling liner ship is usually fitted with a low velocity two-stroke chief engine which is connected to a fixed pitch propellor via propellor shaft and by take downing the velocity of chief engine the propellor reduces the velocity of the ship. However the power required by the chief engine is disproportionate to the ship ‘s velocity and the below diagram explains it.

Impacts of slow steam scheme


The chief advantage of slow steam scheme applied on line drive transportation is to increase the net income by cut downing the fuel cost. Theoretically when a ship reduces its velocity from 27 to 22 knots ( -19 % ) the engine power is assumed to cut down by 42 % of its entire nominal end product. If we consider a unit of ammunition trip from Asia -Europe -Asia there willbe a fuel economy of 45 % at 22 knots and 59 % at 18 knots. In practical these values may alter due to figure of other factors like conditions, loaded lading, vas trims etc.

Slow steaming besides render larger snap to increase the capacity once more when the state of affairs in the market alterations. In add-on to the fuel salvaging the cylinder lubricating oil ingestion of the chief engine is besides reduced at about equal per centums as the fuel, which in bend lessenings solid atom emanations.

Another positive side of slow steaming for a ship proprietor is that ships that are idle or laid-up can be operated for these swift add-ons, as excessively can new ships whose bringing clip has been postponed. The debut of slow steaming, and the attendant trade and fleet versions, has mostly resulted in reactivation of idle vass. ( Wiesmann,2010 )

The other important advantage of slow steaming is that, decreases in velocity well cut down CO2 emanations. When a ship is sailing CO2 emanation is straight related to the sum of fuel burned. For one ton of burned fuel 3.17 kg of CO2 are emitted. ( Corbett, 2003 ) .

Now for a container vass, which is about 4 % of all maritime vass generated 20 % of emanations from international transportation, that is about 206 million dozenss of CO2 in 2007 ( Psaraftis,2009 ) . About 15 % of CO2 emanation is reduced by diminishing the vas velocity by 10 % . ( Longva, 2010 ) .Besides cut downing fuel costs and vessel emanations, A slow-steaming reduces quiver and hull damageA from banging through heavy seas at high velocities. ( Mishra,2010 )


One of the major statements against decelerating down ship velocity is that more ships will be required to travel the same sum of lading in a given clip and this history for dangerous holds with several paths extended by yearss or hebdomads

There are some other serious jobs to be looked at every bit good. Merely 2 to 5 % of planetary CO2 emanation is put by transporting industry. Reducing ship ‘s velocity has operational challenges every bit good, and it may account for addition in other classs of pollution, or do mechanical jobs. During Slow steaming engines are non operated at their rated capacities, A which could do lower engine temperatures andA force per unit areas, a bead in efficiency and a possible increaseA in particulate affair emanations Another job faced by the engine is that engine guarantee may non cover slow trucking. ( Henderson,2010 ) Spending more clip in sea can do important labor costs and labour issues of crew care. Besides, there are no official guidelines or internationally recognized criterions to put to death this pattern. Ocean line drives are following their ain measurings and strategies.A

Although modern engines can be modified for slow steaming, A most vessel hulls operate more expeditiously atA higher velocities ( Mishra, 2010 )

Low steam scheme in logistics direction

Even though slow velocity transporting reduces fuel cost transportation lines are non go throughing the nest eggs to the clients.

When the theodolite clip in a ocean trip additions, stock list cost additions along with it. Longer transit clip consequences in delayed bringing and subsequently the shipper gets paid. This adversely affects transporting company ‘s hard currency flow, where the hard currency is blocked in stock list in theodolite which could otherwise hold been employed elsewhere. Cash is a set resource for most of the transportation companies which must be applied at appropriate clip where the shipper can do the most money, i.e. its nucleus concern activities.

In instance of lading proprietors due to decelerate steam scheme, they have to accept fact that transit period of their lading will be increased somewhat. For illustration cut downing velocity from 27 to 22 knots in a ocean trip from Asia to Europe increases transit clip by 3 to 4 yearss and if the velocity is reduced to 18 knots it might take more than a weak to make the finish. ( Weismann, 2010 ) . For a maker, freight rate entirely comes under 3rd or 4th highest cost point. During fabricating procedure in a supply concatenation, transit is done in many times through assorted parties to make the finished merchandise from natural stuff and therefore debut of slow steaming puts more drift on shippers to command its containerised cargo.

In present universe market, production clip is more cherished and makers depend on inbound conveyance for timely bringing of cardinal constituents or natural stuffs required.Production cost additions if there is a failure in bringing of goods at the right clip particularly when working in a Just-In-Time environment. Major job involved in Slow steaming is longer theodolite times, which means that makers should set an excess attempt to be after farther in front to run into the production agendas.

Planing in front in this circumstance is a hard undertaking as the transit clip is extremely undependable during slow steaming and bringing day of the month could change from yearss to hebdomads from the expected day of the month therefore doing production planning more challenging. If the bringings are non made in clip it could interrupt fabrication procedure, turn outing really dearly-won. The lone manner a maker can support from such a problem is by constructing stock list which would evidently consequences in an stock list keeping cost.

Now from a client point of position slow steaming, like maker, he excessively have to be after in front and when there is a late bringing, he could put punishment on the maker because of the hapless service record physique by the shipper with the client and this straight can impact future concern.

For a maker short transit clip is critical in order to vie internationally against domestic options. This is chiefly because a client will ever hold an option to choose local provider with faster bringing. Now to remain in the competition the maker have to happen an alternate routing or transportation lines that are able for quicker bringing and this might be him more.

In order to confront the new challenges created by slow steam scheme a shipper is forced to develop new managerial quality to negociate cargo rates and to command theodolite clip and on clip bringing ( Holter,2010 ) .Transport direction is besides expensive nevertheless, this cost is usually much lower than the impacts of conveyance on client service, production, and stock list and cargo rates and hence it is a good option for maker to put in conveyance direction since it has legion benefits across the supply chain.Source: Shippers Voice

The above tabular array shows the impact of slow steaming on a shipper

In present twenty-four hours market, merchandise or goods monetary values alterations in a twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours footing and there is ever a chance that late cargo can lose the beginning of selling season and do fiscal loss to the client. Another major job faced by industries due to decelerate steaming is scheduling points to get good in front of, when they need to be in shops which straight consequences in higher warehouse costs and increased wastage ( Sengupta,2010 ) .

Answer to this jobs caused by this low steam scheme is switching from a single-carrier scenario to multiple sourcing. When multiple bearers are introduced for the same conveyance volume shipper can present more than one bearer for viing and choose the bearer ( s ) which offer the best combination of rates and theodolite times. To diminish the hereafter jobs on production and client service, a warrant from the bearer on theodolite clip is of import. Once the warrant is obtained, echt theodolite times should be observed against what was originally promised. ( Holter, 2010 )

Sustainability of slow steaming is ever the inquiry arises and the current scheme of slow steaming in container transportation will be the 3rd clip in transporting history were velocity is reduced on a larger graduated table. Previous fortunes were due to increase in oil monetary values.First clip it was after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 were oil monetary value was doubled and 2nd clip occurred in 1979 when OPEC increased the oil monetary value. However velocities of 25 knots were still common. ( Bloom & A ; Borisson,2008 ) There is ever a opportunity that when economic conditions improve ocean line drives will travel back to their normal velocity and hence the sustainability of slow steam scheme is still unpredictable.


For old ages ship builders and naval designers were seeking to increase the velocity of ocean traveling vass but the recent tendency has resulted in decelerating down the vas velocity which has drastically changed the full position of ship edifice industry

Even though transporting industry has mixed sentiment about slow steaming it is still deriving impulse due to immediate pecuniary additions. Decelerate steaming generates net income for bearers and ship proprietors but from logistic point of position it has more negative than positive sides. Fuel nest eggs and decreased CO2 pollution due to decelerate steaming can non be neglected ever and a new scenario has to be found so that everyone in value concatenation is benefitted.


Bloom, J & A ; Borisson, L ( 2008 ) Cost dislocation and surcharge function for sea cargo Unpublished Thesis ( P.G ) , Lund University

Corbett, J. , Khoeler, H. , 2003. Updated emanations from ocean transportation. Journal of

Geophysical Research 108 ( D20 ) ,

Henderson.k ( 2010 ) Innovation ‘s on fuel market growing, Ship and boat November 2010

Holter, A ( 2010 ) The impact of ‘slow steaming ‘ and how to extenuate its consequence, Shippers voice 14th April Available from:

hypertext transfer protocol: // % E2 % 80 % 98slow-steaming % E2 % 80 % 99-and-how-to-mitigate-its-effect/

[ Accessed on 21st October 2010

Longva, T. , Eide, M. , S. , Skjong, R. , 2010. Determining a needed energy efficiency

Design index degree for new ships based on cost-effectiveness standards, Maritime

Policy & A ; Management 37 ( 2 ) , pp. 129-143

Mishra, R. ( 2010 ) Super Slow Steaming -Good v/s Bad, Shippingbiz 360

Available from

hypertext transfer protocol: // — GOOD-VS-BAD.html [ Accessed on 12th November 2010 ]

Sengupta.S ( 2010 ) Decelerate Steamering by Ocean Liners – Will decelerate and steady win the race. Available from hypertext transfer protocol: //

[ Accessed on 16th November 2010 ]

Windsor ( 2010 ) Decelerate steaming- Is it here to remain? Trade Available from:

hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed on 9th November 2010 ]

Wiesmann, A ( 2010 ) Slow steaming – a feasible long-run option? Wartsila Technical Journal Feb 2010 pp 51 to 55