You are here

Shippers fear huge surge in costs if IMO rules box ships must slow down; IMO body recommends Fleet Safety for GMDSS recognition after intensive performance review

Shippers fear huge surge in costs if IMO rules box ships must slow down
Gavin van Marle 07/03/2018

While shippers have been warned that low-sulphur regulations to be enforced globally in 2020 will see bunker costs added to their freight bill, they could also face a huge upswing in freight rates if new proposals to cut vessel speeds, due to be discussed at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), turn into regulation.

At this week’s TPM conference in Long Beach, World Shipping Council (WSC) vice president Bryan Wood-Thomas said the IMO would next month meet to discuss curbs on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping – and potentially the enforced reduction of ship speeds.

Shipping consultant Franck Kayser, until recently chief operations officer at CMA CGM, said his “coffee pot” prediction was that if speed limits were enforced – reductions of 10-30% – shippers could be faced with freight rates increasing 25-30% and bunker adjustment factors (BAFs) rising 50%.

“If speed restrictions come in, that will require a huge increase in the number of vessels required to fulfil existing cargo volumes, and demand will outstrip supply.

“For example, it currently takes 10 vessels to operate a weekly Asia-US east coast service. If service speed was forced to decline by 10%, you would need 11 vessels; if it was 20%, you would need 12, and so on…

“It is obvious that demand would outstrip capacity and for the shipper, the costs are going to go up,” Mr Kayser said.

Mr Wood-Thomas said the IMO and national governments were looking at vessel speeds because there was already a general agreement among governments that emissions had to be reduced.

“Although this is likely to be highly controversial within the shipping industry, there are now some very influential governments that say emissions of all sorts have to be reduced, and you can do that significantly through speed reduction, without technological changes.

“But there are tremendous complications – a 30% reduction in vessel speeds will require tremendous capital expenditure on the part of shipping lines to move the same amount of cargo around the world,” he said.

IMO body recommends Fleet Safety for GMDSS recognition after intensive performance review

Fleet Safety from Inmarsat, a new service incorporating FleetBroadband and a Maritime Safety Terminal (MST) has been recommended for Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) recognition, after its performance was subjected to intensive review by a group of International Maritime Organization-appointed experts.

The milestone recognition was confirmed at a Sub-Committee meeting on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) on 23rd February, where delegates acknowledged an International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) experts technical review finding that Fleet Safety surpasses the requirements of resolution A.1001(25) initially for the MEAS region. NCSR will now recommend that the May 2018 meeting of the Maritime Safety Committee approves Fleet Safety as a recognised service to support the public service on which seafarers rely.

“We are delighted that Inmarsat’s proposal regarding the future development of its GMDSS solution has received a positive response from NCSR,” said Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime. “This is an important step-forward for our maritime safety strategy encompassing both our current constellation of I-4 satellites and our I-6 constellation and has been designed for both existing FleetBroadband services and the next-generation. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Inmarsat’s Maritime safety & security and engineering teams, and to the on-going support of IMSO.”

Operating on L-band via the Inmarsat fleet of four I-4 satellites, Inmarsat FleetBroadband terminals are equipped with the same GMDSS functionality as Inmarsat C. Today, around 160,000 Inmarsat C terminals are installed on ships operating worldwide.

“For almost 40 years, Inmarsat has been focused on the safety of mariners throughout the world and, following the recommendation to include Fleet Safety in GMDSS, we can proudly restate our commitment to both maintaining and improving the safety services we offer to the maritime industry,” Spithout added.

IMO is reviewing GMDSS under a wide-ranging modernisation Plan, looking to take advantage of changing satellite infrastructure and advances in maritime software and hardware to enhance the system.

Spithout said that Inmarsat would liaise closely with IMSO and its network of technology and channel partners over the coming months to finalise and implement the proposal recognised by NCSR and which will be put in front of the Maritime Safety Committee in May.

All vessels of 300 grt and above, and all passenger ships sailing on international voyages are required to be fitted-out with GMDSS compliant equipment. To be compliant, GMDSS must meet performance standards set out by IMO in A.1001(25).
Source: Inmarsat