Speed Optimization for Sustainable Shipping

  • Harilaos N. PsaraftisEmail author


Among the spectrum of logistics – based measures for sustainable shipping – this chapter focuses on speed optimization. This involves the selection of an appropriate speed by the vessel, so as to optimize a certain objective. As ship speed is not fixed, depressed shipping markets and/or high fuel prices induce slow steaming which is being practiced in many sectors of the shipping industry. In recent years the environmental dimension of slow steaming has also become important, as ship emissions are directly proportional to fuel burned. Win-win solutions are sought, but they will not necessarily be possible. The chapter presents some basics, discusses the main trade-offs and also examines combined speed and route optimization problems. Some examples are presented so as to highlight the main issues that are at play, and the regulatory dimension of speed reduction via speed limits is also discussed.



Automatic identification system


Belt and Road Initiative


(US) Congressional Budget Office


Cost insurance freight


Carbon dioxide


Clean Shipping Coalition


Deadweight ton


Energy Efficiency Design Index


Emissions Control Area


(US) Federal Maritime Commission


Greenhouse gas


Heavy fuel oil


International Maritime Organization


Market-based measure


Marine Environment Protection Committee


Mediterranean Shipping Company


Nongovernmental organization


Roll on/Roll off


Ro/Ro passenger


Sulfur emissions control area


Sulfur oxides


Twenty-foot equivalent unit


United States dollar


Very large crude carrier


Vessel speed reduction programme


World scale (index)



Work reported in this chapter was funded in part by various sources. Early work was supported in part by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) in the context of the Centre of Excellence in Ship Total Energy-Emissions-Economy at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), the author’s former affiliation. Later sources include an internal grant by the President of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and an internal grant at the DTU Department of Management Engineering, Management Science Division; the BlueSIROS project at DTU, funded by the European Space Agency (DTU Space leader); and the ShipCLEAN project at DTU, funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Chalmers University project leader). Three recent DTU MSc theses, by Juan Morales, Massimo Giovannini and Fabio Vilas, have also contributed to the chapter (in Sects. 4.2, 5, and 6, respectively).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DTU Management EngineeringTechnical University of DenmarkKongens LyngbyDenmark

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