(image courtesy Maersk Line)
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 units.ie 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
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.