A recent IMO meeting has discussed how to overcome contractual and operational barriers to implement Just-in-Time (JIT) operations, which can cut the time ships spend idling outside ports and reduce emissions.
Some ships, such as bulk carriers and tankers have clauses in charter part contracts that act as a barrier to the uptake of JOT. Other ship types, such as containerships do not face contractual barriers, allowing the ship’s master to reduce speed without breach of contract.
Focusing on those ship types that can already contractually implement JIT, the IMO’s Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) brought together a wide range of industry stakeholders to discuss how to operationally make JIT a global reality.
The roundtable identified that for ports be able to provide incoming ships with a reliable berth arrival time, firstly a reliable departure time of the ship at berth needs to be achieved – which involves collaboration of many stakeholders. The ship currently at berth will only depart after loading, unloading, bunkering, provisioning and other critical services have all been completed. However, the terminal and other service providers currently share very few updates about completion times.
The roundtable also identified the need for global standardisation and harmonisation of data, which is currently being discussed under IMO’s Facilitation Committee, to provide ships with regular updates about the availability of berths, especially in the last twelve hours prior to port arrival. Timing the arrival can allow ships to optimise their speed, such as by slowing down, providing further reduction in the carbon footprint of shipping as well as saving on fuel costs. Additionally, it improves the safety of navigation and rest hour planning of ship crew and nautical services.
GIA members plan to hold another meeting later this year to discuss contractual barriers to JIT. The alliance is also in the process of preparing a real-time JIT pilot trial to test the tangible solutions identified so far and gather experience. The GIA will submit a progress report on its work on JIT to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) with a view to continue supporting IMO member States in tackling emissions from ships and reaching the ambitious emissions targets set out in IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy.