Blue Visby

Maiden Blue Visby trial shows promising shipping emissions reduction

The first prototype trials of the Blue Visby software have resulted in significant CO2 savings, the Blue Visby Consortium confirmed.

The first voyages took place in March and April 2024 with the bulk carriers M/V Gerdt Oldendorff and the M/V Begonia, which, under voyage charter to Blue Visby Consortium member CBH Group, performed ballast voyages to CBH Group’s Kwinana Grain Terminal, Australia.

The prototype trials resulted in CO2 savings of 28.2% for M/V Gerdt Oldendorff and 12.9% for M/V Begonia, meaning on average 17.3%, measured against the vessels’ respective service speeds of 14 knots.

In the case of the M/V Gerdt Oldendorff, the trial resulted in CO2 savings of 7.9% measured against the vessel’s intended voyage speed of 12 knots. If the ship, for example, was required to speed up to 14 knots to meet a laycan, the potential CO2 savings would have been 28.2%.

The Blue Visby Solution is an integrated system that notifies ships of the optimal date and time for arriving at their destination, eradicating the industry practice of “Sail Fast, Then Wait”. This is achieved by analyzing several factors, including the weather, vessel performance and congestion at the destination. Importantly, the Blue Visby Solution provides the required information systems to support measurement of the model and the contractual architecture to allow for cost and benefit sharing.

“Decarbonisation is unattainable without energy efficiency, and energy efficiency is impossible if ships continue to Sail Fast Then Wait. The CBH Prototype Trials demonstrate that the Blue Visby Solution will be a central element of any successful decarbonisation strategy for all maritime stakeholders: shipowners, charterers, traders, cargo interests, terminals and ports,” Haris Zografakis and Pekka Pakkanen, co-ordinators of the Blue Visby Consortium, commented.

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A number of alternative benchmarks were tested in this regard involving speed, RPM, laycan dates and “Business As Usual” assumptions.

The parties also had a choice as to whether to calculate the financial value of fuel savings and of the prolongation of the ocean passage by using contract rates or market rates provided by the Baltic Exchanges (also a Blue Visby Consortium member). The parties reached a commercial agreement on the applicable benchmark for the purposes of the benefit-sharing mechanism.

The level of CO2 savings in the CBH Prototype Trials was consistent with studies that had been conducted previously: (a) during the pilot program in 2023, during which ten voyages produced an average of potential CO2 savings of 18.9%; and (b) in a series of hindcast simulations of 284 voyages in November 2021-August 2023, which had produced potential CO2 savings of 25.6% on average.

In the course of these prototype trials, all components of the Blue Visby Solution were deployed and subjected to rigorous testing: software, technical and operational system, as well as the benefit-sharing mechanism (“Blue GA”).

It was also demonstrated that the Blue Visby Solution does not interfere with weather routing, voyage planning or the timing of berthing – all of which were left in the hands of the participants. Indeed, the robustness of the operational side of the Blue Visby Solution prevented disruption of the trial during a time when one of the vessels needed to deviate.

“The operational side of the Blue Visby Solution was rigorously tested in the CBH Prototype Trials, both in its interaction with the software systems as well as with the vessels. The robustness of our systems was proven when we had to deal with the operational complexities when one of the ships had to deviate. We have also learned valuable lessons about the outlook of vessels’ crews and how they can provide support,” Risto-Juhani Kariranta, CEO of AHTI Climate, said.

From a wider perspective, the data collected during the CBH pilot program in 2023 and the CBH prototype trials in 2024 are consistent with earlier studies and hindcast simulations of 20,580 voyages worldwide of 3,651 Panamax vessels in 2022, which showed potential CO2 savings by applying the Blue Visby Solution in the order of 23.2% (median).

The accumulating evidence demonstrates that the systemic optimization of the ocean passage can deliver substantial reductions in emissions, in a way that is compatible with the commercial and contractual structure of bulk maritime trade, and without causing disruption, as the Blue Visby Solution does not interfere with voyage planning or with cargo operations.

The Blue Visby Solution requires no CAPEX, is compatible with any other measure for reducing emissions, while its benefit-sharing mechanism removes the obstacle of split incentives and can create financial benefits for all participants.

The CBH prototype trials are part of a wider program across many geographical areas and market segments, involving more members of the Blue Visby Consortium: Marubeni, Port of Newcastle and Port Authority of New South Wales.

Prototype trials with a wider group of participants is expected to be conducted in the coming months, as the R&D phase of the Blue Visby is completed and commercial deployment begins.

“We are very excited to see the results of the first Prototype Trials, conducted with invaluable support from Consortium member, CBH Group. All components of the Blue Visby Solution were tested: contracts, software, operations, and the benefit sharing mechanism. While both the Virtual Pilot Program and the Prototype Trials will continue in the coming months, we are on track for commercial deployment this year,” Christian Wounlund, CEO and Director of Blue Visby, said.