Furetank Rederi AB – Sea Green

As more industries focus on sustainability, transport is going to be a key battleground, and Furetank Rederi AB is well-positioned for the green transport revolution.

For as long as international trade has been a reality moving people and cargo across the sea has been an essential step in most supply chains. Even now, when transporting large volumes sea freight is the most environmentally friendly form of transport available. But as demand grows, so does the need for seafaring companies to prove their environmental credentials.

Swedish-based shipping company Furetank Rederi AB understands this all too well, having been working in the shipping industry since the 18th century.

“The business consists of two major components,” explains Managing Director Lars Höglund. “We’re a ship owner and we run our own ships, then we also operate vessels for other owners. Together with partners, we invest in product/chemical tankers while ensuring we are as environmentally sound as possible.”

Furetank Rederi is able to offer a high quality, environmentally sound service because it has complete control of the entire shipping process.

“We are a complete shipping company. We have everything in house,” Höglund says. “We have ownership, tech management, crew management, insurance management, all of it. Our employees all have the same focus and do the same work for the same shipowner and employer. There’s no conflict of interest where the crew is employed by a big crewing agency and places their first loyalty there.”

An Environmentally Friendly Fleet

At the forefront of the company’s environmentally friendly approach is its sustainable fleet management. This summer saw the company’s LNG-powered tanker, Fure Viten, depart China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Yangzhou for its first zero-emission voyage.

“Oil majors have rules that limit the age of the vessel they use. They must be younger than 20 years. When our vessels reach that age and we replace them we deploy dual-fuel vessels running on liquified natural gas (LNG) and liquified biogas (LBG) when we can get the supply,” Höglund points out. “And it is not only that. The new vessels are much more energy efficient. We have reduced the fuel consumption by close to 50%.”

Through a combination of fuel-saving solutions, the 17,999 deadweight tonnage tanker was designed to reach the very low energy efficiency design index (EEDI) value of 4.65 points. To put that in perspective, the International Maritime Organisation demands vessels the size of Fure Viten have an EEDI at or below 9.37 points. Indeed, the Fure Viten’s energy-efficient means it has already met the emissions targets for 2050.

The ship’s design features batteries to reduce how much it uses its auxiliary engines, a newly designed ducted propeller that increases thrust while reducing power consumption, and a new hull shape to reduce drag. Fure Viten’s main engine and shaft generator also use a variable frequency that means greater propeller efficiency at variable revolutions and less fuel consumption.

The new ship and its 7 sister vessels, are Ice Class 1A tankers equipped with dual-fuel engines that can run on LNG or LBG while carrying capacity for 20,300 cubic metres of cargo volume.

But while these ships meet an obvious and urgent need, Höglund argues that regulatory incentives are necessary to drive the economic case for sustainability.

“Being rewarded for the vessels outstanding environmental performance in the freight market is our biggest challenge,” Höglund says. “But when the emissions are priced by EU in 2023 our vessels will become much more economic in line with the environmental benefit they offer.”

Höglund also points out that the current discussion around emissions tends to be quite narrow in scope, focusing on CO2, which is important, but far from the only issue.

“One of our challenges is that the media debate almost exclusively focuses on CO2 and forget about all the other emissions,” Höglund tells us. “It is NOX and particles emissions from conventional diesel engines that are behind the biggest health issues for people in densely populated areas. An investigation carried out by IVL, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, has shown that the lower emissions from our vessels are saving the European society about 2.2 million euros per ship and year in reduced health impact”

A Worthy Crew

Of course, the ship is only half of the equation. Ships need a crew, and Furetank Rederi works closely with Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg to recruit and train personnel.

“Since we started the conversion of our first vessel to dua-fuel LNG we have developed courses and training with them and also taken a lot of cadets onboard our new vessels from that school,” Höglund says. “When they are 16-18 years of age, they join our crews and carry out training aboard our vessels before they finish school.”

For centuries the shipping industry has been a heavily male-dominated one, and this is something else that Furetank Rederi is looking to change.

“We’re very involved with local society and schools in the neighbourhood and have a goal to increase the number of women aboard our vessels,” Höglund insists. “Among tankers today we are the company with the highest rate of female officers on board.”

Indeed, the Fure Viten has a record number of women officers among its navigation crew. Höglund points out that Furetank’s sustainable shipping also acts as a recruitment incentive.

“When we start to talk and invest in more environmentally friendly vessels that helps to create a reputation and leads to more women applying to work with us,” Höglund tells us.

Furetank Rederi’s ships are continuing to age and be replaced, and it is clear Höglund is excited about the future shape of the fleet.

As Furetank Rederi’s older ships are being replaced, it is clear Höglund is excited about the future shape of the fleet.

“In the coming three or four years we have three vessels that are coming up to 20 years of age,” he says. “We’re looking forward to replacing them with our new, more energy-efficient and sustainable models. Our latest two latest vessels delivered are also equipped to connect to the shore to draw power from there. These are the first tankers in Europe to do that.”

While Furetank Rederi is pushing the envelope on the shipping side, however, it cannot do it alone, and Höglund points out there must be an industry-wide change.

As he says, “We have made the investments and got the vessel in place and now we’re waiting for shore terminals to offer the infrastructure to serve it.”

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