Photo: Courtesy of NAPA

New platform will tackle “Sail Fast, then Wait” phenomenon to cut shipping emissions

Thirteen members have launched the Blue Visby Consortium which is aimed at helping the shipping industry eliminate the wasteful practice of “Sail Fast, then Wait” (SFTW) through a collaborative platform.

Blue Visby
Courtesy of NAPA

Combining “an innovative” contractual framework and digital technology, the Blue Visby Solution optimizes arrivals, enabling vessels to reduce their speed – and emissions – without impacting their commercial performance.

By tackling SFTW, which sees ships sailing at speed across oceans only to wait at anchorage outside ports, the Blue Visby solution will help reduce emissions for maritime journeys by 15% on average.

If applied globally, the solution has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the global shipping fleet by more than 60 million tonnes of CO2 per year – which is larger than the total emissions of an entire country like Norway.

Finnish maritime software company NAPA joins the Blue Visby Consortium as a technology provider, contributing its digital and voyage expertise to help optimize and stagger arrival times for groups of vessels traveling to the same port.

Taking into consideration parameters such as the performance and characteristics of each vessel, port congestion at destination, and weather conditions, the Blue Visby algorithm provides an optimal target arrival time for each vessel, while keeping their order of arrival as if they had sailed independently without the solution. This enables vessels to slow down, cutting their fuel consumption and emissions, but still “keep their place in the queue” and arrive one after the other, which reduces unnecessary waiting times outside ports.

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Crucially, the Blue Visby solution includes a contractual framework to address the problem of so-called “split incentives”. It introduces a sharing mechanism that enables stakeholders on each voyage to share the costs and benefits of the implementation of the solution, including fuel savings, the costs of a lengthier journey, and the financial value of emissions reductions where applicable.

This contractual architecture is designed to be compatible with the standard terms of maritime contracts and does not require any new legislation or regulations.

Based on extensive analysis of 2019 shipping data from 150,000 voyages by 13,000 cargo ships in the 150 most visited ports, NAPA estimates that Blue Visby will enable vessels to reduce their speed by about 1 knot on average, which is well within the operational parameters of the existing commercial fleet. Speed could be reduced on 87% of the voyages, leading to shorter idle times and an average emissions savings potential of 16%.

“Blue Visby complements voyage planning and weather routing software by providing a target arrival time, and enables users to optimize routes and speed to save fuel without worrying about losing a competitive advantage. And the best part of it is that all this can be done now and with very small upfront investment, as Blue Visby requires no additional on-board systems,” Pekka Pakkanen, Executive Vice President at NAPA Shipping Solutions, said.

“Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the world needs solutions that will make a difference today. From our experience at NAPA, we see the benefits of digital solutions, which are already unlocking tangible fuel and emissions savings through voyage optimization and weather routing,” Mikko Kuosa, Chief Executive Officer at NAPA, commented.

However, solving one of the biggest operational efficiency issues in maritime – “the Sail Fast, then Wait” phenomenon – is not something that a tech company alone can do. Today, we are proud to collaborate with fellow industry pioneers on this groundbreaking solution, which is committed to remaining neutral, independent, inclusive and transparent to reduce emissions for the benefit of the entire industry,” he added.

The Blue Visby Consortium is coordinated jointly by NAPA and maritime law experts from the international law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP.

The consortium presently includes 11 other maritime leaders from the shipping industry, government, classification societies, consultancies, financing, and environmental organizations: Anglo-American, Carbon Trust, ClassNK, CMB, Drewry, Ocean Conservancy, Lloyd’s, the UK Hydrographic Office, the University of Manchester, Tankers International, and Vertis.

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