Wednesday, January 18, 2012

bikenomics part 2

(image courtesy Maersk Line)

Edith Maersk

Sometime ago I was asked to calculate how much fuel was burned transporting a car from one side of the earth to the other on a ship.Recently I've been wondering how much fuel would be burned getting my new bike from Keelung(Taiwan) to Melbourne (Australia).Here goes.


My bike is carried in the world's largest container ship.Maersk 'E' class.
The ship is carrying nothing but adult BKD's(bikes knocked down).
The ship is fully loaded in both directions.
It is travelling at eco speed.
The weather is fine and clear!

the nitty gritty 

Edith Maersk capacity = 14,770 TEU.(twenty foot equivalent 20' containers)
BKD = 1.2m x 0.25m x 0.8m (LxWxH)
TEU = 6.0m x 2.4m x 3.0m (LxWxH)
BKDs in a container = 210(I added an extra 10 to each container to                fill out the spaces)
BKDs on board = 14770 x 210 = 3,101,707 (bikes)

fuel consumed per day at 24 kts = 336 tonnes

dist Keelung to Bremerhaven = 10,855nm
     Keelung to Longbeach = 5,600 nautical miles
     Keelung to Melbourne = 5,186nm

steaming time at eco spd 24kts
     KLG~BRH : 10855/24 = 452.3 hrs = 18.8 days
     KLG~LBC : 5600/24 = 233.3hrs = 9.7 days
     KLG~MEL : 5186/24 = 216 hrs = 9.0 days

fuel consumed
     KLG~BRH : 18.8 x 336 = 6,317 tonnes
     KLG~LBC : 9.7 x 336 = 3,259 tonnes
     KLG~MEL : 9.0 x 336 = 3024 tonnes

fuel consumed per bike
     KLG~BRH : 6317/3101707 = 0.0020tonne (2.0kg)
     KLG~LBC : 3259/3101707 = 0.0011tonne (1.1kg)
     KLG~MEL : 3024/3101707 = 0.0009tonne (0.9kg)

note 1: marine diesels burn heavy fuel oil (HFO).This is what is left over after petrol,kerosene etc have been boiled off the crude oil.These engines are relatively clean burning and supremely efficient.

note 2: I have not made allowance for the land sector via truck, Factory to port and then port to dealer.

note 3: Although container ships are measured by TEU, they rarely carry 20ft boxes these days,just 40 footers.So,same cargo in half the number of containers. In fact,you can get slightly more cargo into a 40FC than 2 x 20FC.

So there you have it. One trip to your local supermarket on your spiffy new bike instead of the car ,and you have pretty much saved the ocean fuel cost in transporting your wheels.

confession: Having worked in the maritime industry since the age of 16,I am a passionate supporter of sea transport.Just try transporting those 3.1 million bikes in a fleet of 747 freighters and see how the fuel consumption compares.

 But what happens when the oil runs out? For one shipping company's view of the future,visit Orcelle.


Lachlan said...

I imported a single speed Phoenix from Africa, that had already travelled there from China. I'm glad to hear that it's journey didn't cost the earth too much drama

slow rpm said...

Hey Lachlan. It's a bit of a head spin,I know. It's easy to see how China has become a manufacturer to the world. If the container were stuffed with socks (say) then the freight component of the shelf price is almost negligible. And if you ride your bike whenever you can, instead of taking the car,then what's a litre of HFO?