MEPC 63 Exclusive: Energy Efficiency to trigger discussions
27th February 2012 18:50 GMT

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) MEPC 63 meeting this week will inevitably trigger much discussion of the regulations passed last July and those set to come into force next January around energy efficiency.

The discussion around the ship energy efficiency management plan (SEEMP) has already created two main camps. The debate is split between those that believe SEEMP is restrictive, time consuming and will fall short of environmental benefit and those that argue that, without specific targets for efficiency, SEEMP could represent a ‘paper tiger’ with all the appearance of environmental concern but little underlying action.

The story seldom told is that SEEMP, when implemented proactively with an electronic solution, can deliver much more than just compliance and in fact make a tremendous impact on reducing increasingly expensive bunker fuel bills.

If carefully considered, the reasons become clear and incredibly attractive; in addition to cost savings in terms of fuel, there are the reputational benefits of an eco-efficient fleet – of increasing importance in a market where customers are beginning to take environmental credentials into account – and a time saving solution for officers, rather than the imposition of extra duties.

The key to realising immediate and tangible benefits lies in the “real-time” management that only ship management software can provide. Those planning to implement SEEMP on paper will gain little in immediate benefits and end up saddled with an increase in on-board duty hours.

However, with software solutions to SEEMP, such as those provided by NAPA, savings can be realised from the point of installation. Facilitating the automation of data collection, supporting the timely availability of that data both onboard and ashore and providing the necessary analytical tools immediately identifies areas where efficiency could be improved.

As with so many regulations, it is not the letter of the law but the spirit in which it was intended that has the greatest meaning.

Ship owners and operators will have to implement a plan for improving efficiency, but it is up to them to enact that plan in the way that will be of the greatest benefit to their business. SEEMP management solutions integrated with systems for operational efficiency provide one of the most quickly installed and lowest cost retrofit efficiency technologies for vessels with one of the shortest payback periods in the market. For those ‘paper tiger’ detractors of SEEMP, some recalibration in how it is enacted can ensure that SEEMP does make sense.

Esa Henttinen,
27th February 2012 18:50 GMT

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