I am an engineer working in the consulting business (land side desk job). As a consultant, my job is deliver customized solutions and make things better. I am all about improving the ship. That can mean anything from installing new equipment, writing new procedures, or fighting regulators. Must of shipping is rules, regulations, standard procedures. I get to tell you when the rules don’t apply or when we can write completely new rules. At the end of the day, I want to help the ship complete its mission better, faster, cheaper.
But . . . I find a lot of resistance to this whole idea in the marine world. Whether it comes from tight owner budgets, inflexible shipyards, or the shackles of tradition, there is very little interest in improving the ship. Generally, our clients only come to us for two reasons: a problem came up, and they must hire us to fix it; or regulators required them to hire an engineer. I see very little interest in pro-active improvement of the ships. For example, everyone agrees that it would be wonderful to save 5% on fuel bills. But few people want to pay money to learn how to do this. I only ever had one client willing to pay for studies on fuel reduction.
So I ask all of you: where is the gap? Why do we not have ship owners racing to optimize their fuel bills? To apply the latest technology and designs? I find that most operators rarely understand the full extent of what engineers can do to help. Example: many people think that fuel reduction requires new machinery. I once saved 3 - 5% on fuel consumption, just by changing the trim of the ship. No new machines required.
Do owners have no budget for ship improvements? Is this a mentality of “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”? Or do people really not understand what they can do to save money on their ship?
I would appreciate any insights on this.