In the 1980s, French ocean explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau commissioned the Alcyone, a vessel named after the daughter of the wind in Greek mythology, which used turbo-sails that provided thrust in the direction of travel along with the engines. Shipping executives said previous efforts didn't catch on with operators because either the costs of such technologies were too high or tests didn't yield the expected fuel savings. But modern, lightweight and relatively cheap rotating sails show more promise, they said. The cylinders on the Maersk tanker are made with composite materials by Finland-based Norsepower Oy Ltd., and cost €1 million to €2 million ($1.2 million to $2.3 million) to fit on a vessel, depending on the size of the ship. The technology is based on what is known as the Magnus effect, in which a spinning object drags air faster around one side, creating a difference in pressure that pushes the vessel in the direction of the lower-pressure side.
Maersk Tankers has invested in CargoMetrics, a quantitative hedge fund backed by the likes of Paul Tudor Jones and Google's Eric Schmidt, in order to utilise its shipping data and analytical models to improve the deployment of its fleet of vessels. The Copenhagen-based tanker company, which is part of Danish shipping group AP Moller-Maersk, has taken an undisclosed but "significant" stake in the Boston-based hedge fund set up by a former US Coast Guard officer and in return will gain exclusive access to its data and algorithms. The tanker market is fickle, with rental rates fluctuating every day and varying across different regions in the world. In just a week, the daily rate for a medium-range tanker in the Atlantic can roughly double or halve. Maersk hopes that CargoMetrics will help it better predict demand and improve the deployment of its 160-strong fleet to take advantage of price trends.
AP Moller – Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, has deployed the first blockchain platform for marine insurance, Insurwave, a joint venture between Guardtime, a software security provider, and Ernst & Young, an accounting firm. The platform is also being used by Willis Towers Watson, MS Amlin and XL Catlin. Maersk trialed the system and is using it for its marine hull insurance. Microsoft Azure provides the blockchain technology using ACORD standards, according to Seatrade Maritime News. Lars Henneberg, head of risk and insurance for AP Moller – Maersk, said moving to the platform has helped automate manual processes and reduced inefficiencies for the company, which owns 350 container vessels worldwide.
LONDON – As the shipping industry faces pressure to cut climate-altering greenhouse gases, one answer is blowing in the wind. European and U.S. tech companies, including one backed by airplane maker Airbus, are pitching futuristic sails to help cargo ships harness the free and endless supply of wind power. While they sometimes don't even look like sails -- some are shaped like spinning columns -- they represent a cheap and reliable way to reduce CO2 emissions for an industry that depends on a particularly dirty form of fossil fuels. "It's an old technology," said Tuomas Riski, the CEO of Finland's Norsepower, which added its "rotor sail" technology for the first time to a tanker in August. "Our vision is that sails are coming back to the seas."