Slow Steaming

There is a debated topic in the ocean freight world that is still dominating the headlines. Slow steaming is that debatable topic and shippers should be aware of the practice of slow steaming. It is common knowledge that diesel fuel prices have skyrocketed in recent years; many ocean freight carriers are feeling the crunch by seeing their profits diminish. That is why for a few years now, there have been significant carriers, including some major carriers, who have been participating in slow steaming. Essentially, slow steaming is the process of lower vessel speeds in transit with the hopes of achieving lower fuel costs. The concept is that slow speeds mean less fuel might be used per trip.

The biggest reason for slow speeding is to limit rising fuel costs. For example, one study found that a shipping vessel that slowed down from 27 knots to 18 knots while traveling might cut their fuel expenses in half. Another benefit of slow speeding is the lower emissions, which is good for the environment. There is also a term known as extra slow steaming, which is even slower.

Although lower fuel expenses are a result, and this might eventually mean lower ocean freight shipping rates, it could add more time and delay the arrival of the shipment by traveling slower. And some of these carriers could also achieve the same benefits just by switching to alternative fuels. If a shipper is worried about the impact of slow steaming, then speaking to a trusted freight forwarder should be the next step.