In all aspects of business, to understand if we are performing better, we need clear benchmarks and measurements to work from. We need verifiable numbers and standardised metrics to analyse performance against competitors, or to demonstrate the value of services provided. Whether it is calculating the profitability of a product or service year-on-year or demonstrating our ability to comply with rules and regulations, every shipping business counts on numbers.
As the shipping industry becomes increasingly digitised and automated, access to rich granular data increases by the day, and as such we should now know more than ever before about our ships and how they function. The most mathematically-astute shipowners, operators or managers are the ones using the data collected to make tangible savings across their fleet by using this very specific and verifiable intelligence to affect change in how they operate or manage their vessels. However, this is only useful if everyone works according to the same performance metrics.
It all adds up
It is well known that the condition of a vessel’s hull significantly affects fuel efficiency and vessel performance. Fouling and mechanical damage to the hull can increase the engine’s power requirements by up to 20%. This is because fouling organisms on a vessel’s hull create additional drag, slowing the vessel and thereby diminish the effectiveness of the engine and propellers.
Environmental and operational factors can influence the level and type of fouling – with idle vessels more susceptible to build-up of fouling than when in transit, for example. This, naturally, has a pronounced impact on the efficiency of the vessel over time. Importantly, the coatings used on the vessels’ hull, and the frequency of their application amongst other considerations also largely dictate the level of fouling able to collect and multiply on the hull and propellers.
These facts are no longer debated, yet many shipowners and operators could still do much more to equip their vessels to withstand the build-up of biofouling. To do so, and to select the most beneficial coatings, operational conditions need to be measured, verified and benchmarked and subsequently monitored over time. It is important that this is consistent with industry-wide benchmarks and standardised metrics.
Using standardised metrics
It is for this exact reason the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in close consultation with representatives from across the maritime and hull coating industry, recently established ISO 19030. This standard defines the methods for determining changes in hull and propeller performance, in addition to calculating the basic indicators that profile industry-standard measurements for propeller efficiency.
The adoption of the ISO 19030 provides shipowners with extremely detailed and accurate information on the performance of their vessels (both in drydock and whilst in service). The data collected against ISO 19030 is thus standardised and reliable, and arms shipowners with tangible, empirical evidence upon which to base their operations and to inform their investment decisions.
In line with the ISO19030 framework, Hempel developed its SHAPE (Systems for Hull and Propeller Efficiency) measurement system earlier this year. Using this programme of analysis, we can monitor the long-term trends using in-service key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can then be used to develop very specific coatings solutions for that vessel and the ongoing performance of the coatings monitored over the longer-term to ensure optimal efficiency.
SHAPE is a process of measurement over time. Six key stages comprise the SHAPE measuring and monitoring system. First, the vessel’s individual speed power reference curves are established. This is followed by collecting in-service data which is then cleansed and purified to eliminate extreme operating conditions and the effects of environmental factors.
Next, a precise speed loss calculation is performed. This is a critical measure for understanding vessel performance and fuel efficiency as power increase and speed loss are directly related. From this, the four KPIs are calculated:
- Dry docking performance – calculates the changes in hull and propeller performance over drydocking periods.
- In service performance – calculates the effectiveness of the vessel’s hull and propeller solutions.
- Maintenance trigger – calculates the change in hull and propeller performance over a given period between drydocking and in-service use.
- Maintenance effect – calculates the change in hull and propeller performance before and after a maintenance event.
Comparing the answers
Following this in-depth analysis, Hempel can offer solid, valuable technical advice to the ship operator to positively impact their fuel efficiency and ensure best practice in vessel maintenance. The findings from the SHAPE analysis can be critiqued according to the ISO standard, and compared across the market.
The ISO 19030 effectively provides the metrics for shipbuilders, shipowners, engine manufacturers, coatings companies, classification societies and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to calculate hull efficiency according to the same formula. This means that owners and interested parties can accurately compare hull and propeller solutions offered by coatings manufacturers by referencing simple and transparent data and analytics. They can then make an informed assessment as to what the most appropriate coatings solutions will be for them.
This use of big data, much of which is now collected as a matter of course as the entire shipping industry becomes increasingly digitalised and automated, means that we are much better positioned to corroborate facts across all aspects of vessel operation. The result is that owners and operators are much better equipped to compete.
As the sum of its parts, overall vessel efficiency is enhanced by applying the correct calculations and formulas to understanding how capable each ship is of performing its duties and deducing from the results specific solutions for adding efficiency. SHAPE is Hempel’s model for ensuring that hull efficiency measurement is an exact science.•