Speed models for energy-efficient maritime transportation: A taxonomy and survey

Harilaos N. Psaraftis, Christos A. Kontovas

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


International shipping accounts for 2.7% of worldwide CO2 emissions, and measures to curb future emissions growth are sought with a high sense of urgency. With the increased quest for greener shipping, reducing the speed of ships has obtained an increased role as one of the measures to be applied toward that end. Already speed has been important for economic reasons, as it is a key determinant of fuel cost, a significant component of the operating cost of ships. Moreover, speed is an important parameter of the overall logistical operation of a shipping company and of the overall supply chain and may directly or indirectly impact fleet size, ship size, cargo inventory costs and shippers’ balance sheets. Changes in ship speed may also induce modal shifts, if cargo can choose other modes because they are faster. However, as emissions are directly proportional to fuel consumed, speed is also very much connected with the environmental dimension of shipping. So when shipping markets are in a depressed state and “slow-steaming” is the prevalent practice for economic reasons, an important side benefit is reduced emissions. In fact there are many indications that this practice, very much applied these days, will be the norm in the future. This paper presents a survey of speed models in maritime transportation, that is, models in which speed is one of the decision variables. A taxonomy of such models is also presented, according to a set of parameters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransportation Research. Part C: Emerging Technologies
Pages (from-to)331-351
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Maritime transportation
  • Air emissions from ships
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Ship speed optimization
  • Slow steaming


Dive into the research topics of 'Speed models for energy-efficient maritime transportation: A taxonomy and survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this