Bubbling Below the Surface

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Ship technology firms have been toying with the idea of air lubrication for more than 100 years. Now, as new regulations and concerns about the environment drive investment decisions, the concept may finally catch on.

When the price of oil rises, so does demand for energy- efficiency technologies across the transport sector. Electric vehicle manufacturers, for instance, are currently anticipating and uptick in sales after the price of Brent Crude hit a four- year peak in early October.

In the mid- 2000s as oil prices crept towards their all- time high, America’s largest retailer, Wal- Mart, set out ambitious energy- efficiency targets for its fleet of trucks. The corporation fitted fuel- efficient tyres and diesel generators to many of its 7,200 transport vehicle to reduce its total fuel consumption by 25 per cent. This means Wal- Mart wouldn’t have to pass the rising cost of oil onto consumers.

As IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap draws nearer, the shipping industry is having to figure out how to cope with the significantly higher cost of bunkering compliant fuels. Major players are already turning to surcharge mechanisms which will charge ship owners more to transport cargo across the seas.

But a growing number of forward- thinking companies are also investing in energy- efficiency technologies as Wal- Mart did, to cut fuel costs over time. Read the full article

By Jennifer Johnson for The Marine Professional

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