Maritime logistics

Research fields' applicability:

Reduction of CO2 emissions from shipping

According to the Second IMO Greenhouse gas study, CO2 emissions from maritime transport represent approximately 3 % of global CO2 emissions. Several studies, for instance the IMO GHG studies and DNV's Pathways to low carbon shipping, has described the effect of several mitigating measures, many of which have a negative abatement cost. In our research we have particularly studied how speed reductions or increased vessel sizes (Economy of Scale) could contribute to reduced CO2 emissions, and have found that both measures would have reduction of CO2 emissions at negative abatement costs. Hence, these findings would have relevance both for speed optimisation as an emission reduction measure, and in policy recommendations of how to take account of economy of scale through increased vessel size for instance in the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI). Since speed reduction based emission reductions are based purely on lower speeds, they can in part be performed now, while increasing the size of the vessels in the global vessel fleet might take as long as 25 years, so the reduction in emissions will be achieved gradually as the current fleet is renewed.

Fleet size and mix

One of the key issues in ship-owner/ship-operator planning is the strategic planning of the size and mix of the fleet of vessels, known generically as fleet size and mix problems (FSMP). FSMP's are dominated by uncertainty in several dimensions, given fluctuating and changing market demands, changing opportunities that may become open for different types and sizes of vessels, redesign of transport networks, as well as upcoming or changing physical or regulatory "bottlenecks". Questions like; "Given transport demand and network, how may our current fleet be utilised in the best possible and/or emission effective way, and how should our fleet be developed to meet future market and network opportunities, as well as emission regulations?", are among the important decisions that ship-owners have to make to position their fleet of vessels in commercial market operations, as well as meet the regulatory requirements. From the regulators side, the same questions may be addressed with the focus of what the effect and cost of specific regulations could be, given available fleet applicable measures of technology. In our research we have started a research project that seeks to establish improved insight, methods and tools to address fleet size and mix issues as described above.

Risk and vulnerability management of maritime transport

The maritime transport system is the backbone of the world's trade of commodities and products. As such, industries, societies, and individuals are dependent upon the maritime transport system for their way of operation and living, and several strong interdependencies exist between our globalised economy and the maritime transport system. In parallel, the commercial maritime transport system of vessels, ports and service providers seek to optimise all operations in such a way that cost and emissions are lowered, and profits are increased. In our research we have tried to establish an overview of risks and vulnerabilities of the maritime transport system in performing its transport mission, analysing inter-dependencies between optimisation of maritime transport systems, and the inherent risks that could disturb the system as well as the effect of different mitigating measures. Further we are conducting research to learn more about robustness measures and sea-margins in route and fleet scheduling, to be able to move from static sea-margins to dynamic sea-margins dependent on route and season.

In all, this research will provide knowledge about how to plan for and act when disturbances happen, as well as establish knowledge that can be used to plan routes and schedules using better route information, giving better insights into the risk of seeking given opportunities, for instance the risk of taking an additional port call in a route system.

Human factors

The human element is a crucial part of safety, security and environmental protection within maritime transportation, and is together with its organisational parallel said to be accountable for approximately 80 % of maritime transport related accidents. In our research we have conducted a literature study with a content analysis of human factor issues in marine system design, to establish an overview of which areas that have been researched and which are lacking research. Further, we are conducting a comparative on-board survey of human factor issues on two different offshore supply vessel designs. This research seeks to establish a basis for several human factor issues in shipping that are being addressed by EU's seventh Framework Programme for research.

Vessel accident data

Improvement of maritime safety has previously been based on a reactive regulatory approach, where regulatory improvements have been imposed to prevent recurrence of a specific type of accidental event, after such an accidental event has happened. The new approach supported by IMO is to change to a proactive, risk based assessment process named Formal Safety Assessment (FSA). The use of risk analytical approaches as Formal Safety Assessment to improvements in maritime safety is dependent on accurate and comprehensive statistical data, in practice based on recorded data of ship accidents. The level of quality in such statistical data will have an impact on the ability to target the correct risk factors, the ability to design and allocate appropriate risk control options, as well as the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of those risk control options. Underreporting of maritime accidents is a problem not only for authorities trying to improve maritime safety through legislation, but also to risk management companies and other entities using maritime casualty statistics in risk and accident analysis. Our research tries to estimate the degree of underreporting of vessel accidents, based on a study that collected and compared casualty data from 2005 to 2009, from IHS Fairplay and the maritime authorities from a set of nations. The considerable scope of underreporting uncovered in the study, indicates that users of statistical vessel accident data should assume a certain degree of underreporting, and adjust their analysis accordingly. Whether to use correction factors, a safety margin, or rely on expert judgment, should be supported by more in-depth studies and decided on a case by case basis.