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Sea transport can be more energy efficient using AIS data

08 January 2019

Energy consumption in container traffic between Gothenburg and Rotterdam could be reduced by 19 percent. This is one of the results in a new pre-study from SSPA that takes a first step towards a methology to calculate the load factor of ships on a larger scale.

Transport activities can become more energy and cost efficient by improving the load factor, i.e. balancing the required and available capacity of transportation. Statistics about load factor are missing today, in particular for sea transports.
By collecting AIS-data (automatic identification system), the load factor can  be mapped and analyzed.

”We have compared AIS data with loaded goods in port statistics and found that one can get an indication of how loaded a vessel is based on AIS data”, Vendela Santén says.

She is one of six researchers at SSPA who participates in the pre-study. In order to exemplify the efficiency potential of an increased load factor two scenarios with departures between Gothenburg and Rotterdam was selected and analysed. They both showed an energy efficiency improvement through the transfer of goods using existing capacity; and by streamlining, i.e. reduced frequency and larger vessels.

”The result fon the first scenario shows that energy consumption would decrease by 19 percent for all departures over a year if more goods were sent by sea during the days when the load factor was lowest”

The second scenario shows that by increasing vessel size and reducing the frequency from twice to once a week reduces the energy consumption of traffic on these departures by 25% per week.

“We have now identified several areas for further research, for example identify how the load factor can be increased, coupled to minimize the positioning of empty containers”, Vendela Santén says.

The preliminary study was financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and was carried out between September 2017 and June 2018.

Read the full report here

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