Benefit of speed reduction for ships in different weather conditions

Bhushan Taskar*, Poul Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Currently, the shipping industry is facing a great challenge of reducing emissions. Reducing ship speeds will reduce the emissions in the immediate future with no additional infrastructure. However, a detailed investigation is required to verify the claim that a 10% speed reduction would lead to 19% fuel savings (Faber et al., 2012). This paper investigates fuel savings due to speed reduction using detailed modeling of ship performance. Three container ships, two bulk carriers, and one tanker, representative of the shipping fleet, have been designed. Voyages have been simulated by modeling calm water resistance, wave resistance, propulsion efficiency, and engine limits. Six ships have been simulated in various weather conditions at different speeds. Potential fuel savings have been estimated for a range of speed reductions in realistic weather. It is concluded that the common assumption of cubic speed-power relation can cause a significant error in the estimation of bunker consumption. Simulations in different seasons have revealed that fuel savings due to speed reduction are highly weather dependent. Therefore, a simple way to include the effect of weather in shipping transport models has been proposed. Speed reduction can lead to an increase in the number of ships to fulfill the transport demand. Therefore, the emission reduction potential of speed reduction strategy, after accounting for the additional ships, has been studied. Surprisingly, when the speed is reduced by 30%, fuel savings vary from 2% to 45% depending on ship type, size and weather conditions. Fuel savings further reduce when the auxiliary engines are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102337
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • International Shipping
  • Ship emissions
  • Ship performance
  • Shipping transport model
  • Speed reduction
  • Weather routing


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