What is Slow Steaming?

If someone outside the shipping industry saw "slow steaming", they might think it has something to do with cooking or dry cleaning. Instead slow steaming refers to slowing a steamship's cruising speed down in order to cut fuel costs. With the industry wide economic cutbacks, slow steaming has recently become a hot topic in international shipping. Many steamship lines have been adopting the slow steaming methods despite the major upsets in transit times. For instance, Maersk has started using slow steaming between Asia and the Indian Sub-continent adding 7 days which has changed its quoted transit time from 35 days to 42 days. This can make a huge difference to manufacturers and buyers and can be an enormous risk to the steamship line. It can also save an extreme amount in fuel costs so there is no difficulty justifying the additional time in the current economic market. In fact, cutbacks for many have become en vogue at this point. Not only that, but another buzzing topic reaps the benefits as well: the environment. By slow steaming is much better for the environment because it will cause lower emissions. By the extreme slow steaming that some companies are adopting, they are lowering their greenhouse gases up to 30% of what they used to be at full throttle. Seems as ships are going sliding through the water at a slower pace, it reduces the friction and lowers the drag which will reduce the amount of emissions that are given off: a by product that is good for everyone. Unfortunately this is only possible because of the recent economic changes, but it leaves a much bigger and longer lasting impression.