Swedish shipowner cuts fuel consumption by 20 percent with Blueflow

Blueflow makes passenger transport in the Swedish archipelago more eco-friendly

The eco-conscious Swedish ship owner, Styrsöbolaget was determined to minimise its environmental impact and needed a system to promote eco-driving in its fleet. They chose Blueflow because of how it presents fuel consumption in a new and clearer way. Not only did Blueflow reduce fuel consumption with 20- 25%, it also revolutionised the attitude towards environmental awareness.

50% of fuel savings changed the staff’s point of view

Back in 2010, Styrsöbolaget installed the energy management system Blueflow on four of its 18 ships. One harbour vessel, one high-speed catamaran and two regular passenger ferries had Blueflow installed. Not all staff members were fond of the idea, and the management met strong objections against the system.

“In the beginning, the staff was convinced that Blueflow would not make them change their way of navigating and they did not think that it would make any difference on the environment”, says Ellinor Svensson, Traffic Manager at Styrsöbolaget.

However, data proved the staff wrong. Not only did Blueflow reduce fuel consumption as a consequence of the captain's change in navigating behaviour, it also changed the staff’s attitude towards the whole eco-driving project. “Some of our captains saved more than 50% on fuel consumption by changing their way of manoeuvring, and they were like 'Oh do these small changes I’ve made mean that much?'" so they truly adapted to the whole idea about minimising the environmental impact”, Ellinor explains. She also says that they did some surprising findings and that some of the things they thought would not impact on the fuel consumption, actually made an enormous difference and vice versa. In other words, Blueflow changed their perception of how to manoeuvre the ships energy-efficiently.

Blueflow impacts the environment AND the bottom line positively

Based on the remarkable results on the initial four boats, Styrsöbolaget decided to install Blueflow on its complete fleet. The company has 18 ships and manages all boat traffic to the car-free islands in the southern part of Gothenburg archipelago. The Swedish shipowner is determined to minimise its footprint, and with around 5,5 million passengers every year and more than 44,000 running hours, the Swedish shipowner would also have financial benefits from lowering fuel consumption.

Today, Blueflow is a deeply integrated part of everyday life at Styrsöbolaget, and the staff uses it to analyse and to optimise their effort continuously, and it shows on the figures. The company has reduced its fuel consumption with an impressive 20-25% over the last nine years, and that means Styrsöbolaget and its team have saved the environment from a large share of unnecessary emissions and the investment per vessel has been paid back in less than a year, Ellinor says.

02 Ellinor Svensson Styrsobolaget Case

"Blueflow’s analytic tools enable the staff actually to see the impact of their changed behaviour immediately. It helps them to improve their manoeuvring methods continuously. Using Blueflow is like buying a gym membership – you don’t get fit without exercising."

Ellinor Svensson

Traffic Manager | Styrsöbolaget

03 Ship Styrsobolaget Case

The Blueflow way: an eco-conscious way of manoeuvring

Implementing a system that changes the regular routines is challenging and requires some guidance until the new methods become routine.

Styrsöbolaget's management knew that it would take some time to adapt Blueflow, and Ellinor explains, “that it was vital that the staff saw this as an environmental project rather than an economic project to reduce cost."

For Blueflow to become a success, mutual trust between the head office and the crew on board was necessary. It was important to reassure that Blueflow was not installed to snitch on the captains. "We told the captains, that we were not going to teach them how to navigate their ship more efficiently, and that it was a project that we were in together”, Ellinor says.

The traffic manager stresses that implementing the system takes an effort. “We have held several start-up meetings, and all new captains at Styrsöbolaget get a thorough introduction to the Blueflow system. The captains set their individual vessel goals and are very committed to delivering on their promises”, she says. And the effort has paid off – today Styrsöbolagets people talk of the “Blueflow-way” meaning navigating the ships in the eco-friendliest way possible.

You don’t have to be the best

All Styrsöbolagets’ captains have access to the system and can see how they are performing. However, the shipowner does not focus on who is at the top of the list – to them; it is important that each captain is using the analytic tools within Blueflow to improve his or her performance.
Implementing Blueflow has increased collaboration and knowledge sharing across the company’s 50 captains, and if someone has made remarkable results, they discuss how the captain has operated the ship to achieve the result.

“We’ve experienced that a team taking over the operation during lunch break have lowered the fuel consumption. Same conditions, same ship, the only difference was the way of manoeuvring and the captain from the first shift was like “how did you do that?”, Ellinor tells with a cheerful grin.

Positive side effects

Besides saving considerable amounts of fuel, Styrsöbolaget also uses Blueflow to foresee maintenance. The captains are now so attentive to optimising the fuel consumption that they contact the head office in case of irregularities. Fuel consumption not only relies on how the ship is navigated, but can also be triggered by problems with, for example an engine, a propeller or a clogged fuel filter. In other words, Blueflow enables the shipowner to predict maintenance much sooner and thus save fuel and prevent downtime.

Styrsöbolaget has even used Blueflow for safety reason to analyse what happened in a situation on the water, so to them, implementing Blueflow have had a lot of positive side effects.

Eco-driving down under

A couple of years ago, Ellinor Svensson and Captain Kim Sjögren were invited to Australia to educate the crew on Harbour City Ferries, Sydney in eco-driving. Several of Harbour City Ferries’ vessels have Blueflow installed, and according to Ellinor, it has been a success down there as well, so it is a good system she concludes.