Every Seafarer Can Have an Impact on Greener Shipping


Published Aug 24, 2022 2:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

Teaming up with London-based clean-tech company Signol, BSM studied how individual behavioural change can lead to a reduction in ships’ energy demand and carbon emissions. This was done by combining operational data analysis from selected vessels managed by BSM Deutschland (BSMD) with cutting-edge behavioural science in the form of an app and tailored communications developed by Signol.

During the research project, which ran in the second half of 2021, 60 Masters and Chief Engineers on 28 vessels under full management of BSMD were invited to take part in the trial on a voluntary basis. Such voluntary participation is a consequence of intrinsic motivation; a key element of behaviour change triggered by Signol’s solution. To ensure reliable and authentic test results, seafarers must be assured that they can trust the methodology and that their expertise, autonomy and privacy are respected at all times.

During the trial, each participating crew member was assigned an individual target via the Signol app. These targets were derived from the seafarers’ past performances. Every week, the seafarers received updates on their personal milestones and achievements via the app and email. Through a combination of realistic targets and positive feedback, Signol was able to gently nudge Masters and Chief Engineers to implement fuel-saving practices.

Seafarers can be nudged to have an Impact

The trial analysis revealed some promising reductions in bunker fuel consumption on several vessels which will need to be verified by further tests. However, the trial has already shown that the human side of operational efficiency can be a crucial contributor to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing sustainability: Seafarers can be nudged and become aware of their individual influence on major challenges. They can play a key role in reaching our global environmental objectives when empowered by the right feedback.

Nick Topham, Managing Director of BSM Deutschland, says: “I am pleased with the overall outcome of the pilot project as it proved our hypothesis that seafarers are not only important key workers, but also play a valuable role in the decarbonisation of the shipping industry. We are impressed by the individual efforts of all participating Captains and Chief Engineers to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. In the long run, it can provide a great added value to our owners and charterers’ operations, and to the achievement of climate targets.”

The Schulte Group has strategically invested in Signol through its venture capital arm Innoport. Niklas Körner, Investment Manager at Innoport, was also satisfied with the trial: “The first results are very encouraging and prove Signol’s product-market-fit in maritime. There is still a lot to understand about how to use behavioural change in the most effective way towards greener shipping. Applying behavioural science to vessel operations is an exciting new field for the Schulte Group which requires further research and development work to deliver even more reliable results.”

BSM is committed to exploring and exploiting all opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint: technical, operational and, indeed, behavioural. BSM plans to deepen its cooperation with Signol to conduct additional tests and to further evaluate the benefits and opportunities of behavioural science.

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