Study of historical trends in ship design efficiency

April 9, 2015

This first-time study of the historical development of the efficiency of new ships shows that, in fact, the efficiency of new ships has actually deteriorated since 1990 by 10% on average. This demonstrates the failure of market forces to reduce ship and shipping emissions and emphasizes the need for regulation.

The study also finds that the current efficiency standards for new ships (the Energy Efficiency Design Index, or EEDI) – a 20% improvement of efficiency compared with the 1999-2008 average – does little more than bring the efficiency of new ships in 2020 back to levels seen around 1990. This would imply a 30-year stagnation of efficiency improvement, meaning that reducing shipping volumes would be the only avenue for net reductions of emissions.
The deterioration in average ship efficiency over the past decade and the expected 30-year standstill between 1990 and 2020 stands in marked contrast to other transport modes. (Further information on the figures for changes in fuel consumption of various transport modes is available here.)

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