Royal Arctic Line
Royal Arctic Line and its subsidiary Royal Arctic Bygdeservice A/S supply the people of Greenland with all sorts of goods ranging from food to hazardous goods and large construction machines. To perform this logistical task, the shipping line has a fleet of five Atlantic vessels and five smaller ships to administer the service. Royal Arctic Line is also the port authority for thirteen of Greenland’s ports with responsibility for their operation, and has freight forwarding and warehousing operations in ten towns.
Trying to reduce carbon emissions
Royal Arctic Line is working with the Danish Shipowners’ Association to reduce carbon emissions and to determine how shipping lines can reduce other forms of harmful impact on the climate.
The simplest way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce the consumption of CO2. This is done by reducing speeds, improving the ship’s propulsion or by making the exterior more streamlined. Because today fuel constitutes one-half of the total running costs of a vessel, Royal Arctic Line and other shipping lines have both climatic and financial interests in improving the performance of vessels.
As far as Royal Arctic Line is concerned, however, scope for reducing CO2 consumption on its vessels is limited. The only realistic options are to reduce speeds. On the other hand, this means the weekly rotation to Greenland cannot be maintained, and this would impact the shipping line’s customers.
High ice ratings entail high consumption of CO2
New ships on the drawing board are required to have a high ice rating to ensure that the obligation to supply the whole of Greenland can be met. That means ships have to be built with double hulls and stronger steel reinforcement in the construction of the ship. This results in heavier weights than is the case for ships without ice ratings, and this means higher fuel consumption and hence more carbon emissions. More streamlined exteriors are also problematic in Aortic waters because these are not suited to sailing through ice.
Three new initiatives
Royal Arctic Line is implementing three new initiatives in particular in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
- Fuel Management is a system which will give greater insight into how changes of course and speed affect fuel oil consumption. Because the shipping line’s container ships have continuous speed patterns across the Atlantic, the benefit of precisely measuring fuel oil consumption with different utilisations of engines and auxiliary engines can be reaped directly. This will enable Royal Arctic Line to examine under which conditions the shipping line should set and utilise the machinery in particular ways in order to maximise fuel economy.
- The Homogenizer – Emulgator is a pump used to crush many of the larger particles in the fuel. The types of fuel oil used on container ships often contain a quantity of fuel that cannot be burnt due to particle size. The content of these particles corresponds to a quantity of 1–2% of the total quantity of fuel. The purpose of the emulgator is to crush these particles to give the shipping line better fuel consumption, which can result in up to 5–6% fuel savings. It will also minimise the amount of slurry deposited on land.
- The 2010 timetable is currently being prepared and may incorporate significant changes in the first four months. Working with the Government of Greenland and major customers, Royal Arctic Line is considering reverting to the previous rotation schedule of eleven days instead of the current weekly rotation. This will result in a significant reduction in carbon emissions because the ships will be able to sail at optimum speed, i.e. slower than at present, and using less fuel. This will also allow better utilisation of the ship’s onboard capacity, which means the emissions per container, or total emissions in relation to the quantities of goods transported, can be reduced even more significantly. The cost, on the other hand, will be the social impact of ships not docking as frequently as they used to.