Category "Trends"

Closed after 110 years: the end of the “Königslinie”

in Trends, Maritime Knowledge by

Europe’s oldest ferry route between Sassnitz (Island of Rügen) and Trelleborg, Sweden closed by Stena Line after 110 years in service. Major impacts on international tourism for the region are to be expected after COVID19 travel restrictions are relaxed.

Germany’s oldest ferry line connecting Sassnitz, Germany and Trelleborg, Sweden.

On March 16 the ferry SASSNITZ undertook her last crossing from Sweden to Sassnitz. The shipping company Stena Line decided to close the traditional rail ferry route completely after 110 years in service. According to Stena Line, the ferry route wasn’t efficient – partly because of the pandemic-induced travel restrictions, partly due to the tense economic situation caused by lower freight volumes. The last rail traffic passed the route in 2014.

The old ferry route was of great importance for international tourism between the region and Sweden. Additionally, the route was the fastest way to travel between Germany and South Sweden. The passage took no more than four hours. The alternative route Rostock-Trelleborg takes two hours longer than the closed ferry line.

The fading doom of the old ferry line

In the past years, only 300.000 passengers crossed the countries via the “king’s line” ((Swedisch: Kungslinjen) which is the typical German term for the traditional rail ferry route between Sassnitz/Rügen, Germany and Trelleborg, Sweden. It is named after Emperor Wilhelm II as King of Prussia and the Swedish King Gustav V. According to the association “Destination Rügen – Cruise & Ferry network” the yearly passenger potential is much higher – up to 500.000 people could have used the ferry with the right Marketing strategy and aligned timetables.

The doom of the ferry line already began eight years ago. At that time the ferry line was owned by the German-Dansk shipping company Scandlines and the Swedish shipping company Stena Line. In 2012 Scandlines sold all her shares which resulted in Stena Line being the sole owner of the ferry route. Two years later the freight traffic in Sassnitz was relocated to Rostock. Later on, the shipping company cut the number of crossings to twice a day. In September 2018, the number of ferry rides dropped to less than once a day.

The sad peak was reached in autumn 2019. During the two weeks of school holidays in Germany, which is usually a popular travel season for German tourists, only 4 ferry crossings between Sassnitz and Trelleborg took place. In the whole month of November, the passenger ferry only ran six times between Germany and Sweden. After that, Stena Line withdrew the ferry Sassnitz to support on the route Rostock-Trelleborg. Since the end of April, the ferry Sassnitz is not in service being located in Uddevalla, Sweden.

Tourism highly affected by the closure

The king’s line was the only passenger ferry route between Trelleborg and Sassnitz. At Stena Line, there will only be two rail ferries between Rostock and Trelleborg left.

The ferry connection and the island Rügen are particularly popular with the Swedes. Swedish tourists like the cultural sights of the island, especially the seaside resorts, which are not available in their country. But not only the island is particularly affected by the ferry line’s suspension. The Hanseatic city of Stralsund, once ruled by the Swedes, is also likely to feel the absence of the Scandinavian tourists. Missing excursions to Western Pomerania, for example along the cultural-historical “Schwedenstraße” (The Swedes street) to Brandenburg, will be expected due to the closing of the traditional ferry route.

A glimmer of hope: High-speed catamaran might be an option

The shipping company Weiße Flotte operating several ferry lines in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and in the area of Berlin considers relocating a high-speed catamaran, usually being in service by the company compound Unternehmensverbund Förde Reederei Seetouristik (FRS) between Marocco and Gibraltar, to the Baltic Sea. Weiße Flotte is part of the company network FRS. The federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pommerania has promised 700.000 € financial support for the project. Rather than replacing the closed ferry line, a passenger line between Sassnitz/ Rügen and the Swedish city of Ystad might be planned. The high-speed catamaran can travel between Germany and South Sweden in two and a half hours. That might definitely be the fastest way to travel between the two countries!


How “green” is very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO)?

in Trends, Maritime Knowledge by

In recent years, international shipping has increasingly been subjected to criticism for its environmental record. It was in this context that the regulation issued by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) prohibiting vessels from burning fuel with more than 0.5% sulphur content from 1 January 2020 onwards met with a generally favourable reception. As most ocean-going vessels had previously been burning fuel oil with a sulphur content of 3.5%, it was generally assumed that the very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) would have a positive environmental impact, especially when ships are in port. So how about an initial fact check?

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Support Seafarers blocked by COVID-19 measures

in Trends by
Photo by moto moto sc on Unsplash

Contribute to a global petition aiming to draw the attention of the general public to the problems of over 150,000 seafarers that cannot leave or cannot join ship crews due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative belongs to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Goodwill Maritime Ambassador for Bulgaria Capt. Andriyan Evtimov.

The purpose is to have the document signed online by at least 150,000 people – the same number of seafarers blocked by the COVID-19 and then send it to the IMO member-state governments with an appeal for immediate and urgent measures to facilitate the movement of seafaring personnel.

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Oil price crash: where’s shipping steering?

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Read about how the COVID19 pandemic induced the biggest oil price crash in history. And what is the impact on maritime shipping?

Tanker activity, USA, satellite view, end of April 2020

Economists are already referring to the global slump brought about by the coronavirus as the world’s worst-ever economic downturn – a “Greater Depression” that’s even worse than the Great Depression in 1929-32. With lockdowns, closed frontiers and stay-home restrictions reducing road, rail and air traffic to an absolute minimum and economic activity having slowed down to an almost standstill the world over, the global demand for oil has fallen through the floor. On April 20 the price of the May futures contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) plunged to never-experienced negative territory of minus $40. In other words, US oil producers actually had to pay people to buy or store their oil. Since that historic low, the price of WTI and Brent crude has recovered somewhat but still remains at levels not seen for decades. It’s a simple equation, basic supply-and-demand economics. With supply significantly outpacing demand in the global oil market, the price of “black gold” has slumped.

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Green shipping – yet another corona victim?

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Global traffic density of cargo vessels, tankers, and bulk carriers being responsible for around three-quarters of all maritime emissions.

Are climate protection measures an unaffordable luxury in a recession? Read about the effects of the corona crisis on global green shipping attempts.

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Corona crisis – visible in global vessel activity yet?

in Updates, Trends by

We used FleetMon’s historical AIS data to investigate irregularities year-over-year regarding vessel activity and maritime traffic at the Chinese coast and other crucial waterways related to Coronavirus spreading. Part 1/2

  • Vessel activity at Chinese Coast drops every year around Lunar New Year
  • In 2020: the drop lasts 6 weeks instead of 2 to 3 weeks due to Corona crisis
  • FleetMon investigated on the vessel activity of principal waterways via historical AIS data
  • No Coronavirus-related reduction in global vessel activity visible yet
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Driving Transparency in maritime CO2 emission reporting

in Decarbonization, Trends by

FleetMon collaborates with worldwide logistics and shipping companies as well as with federal ministries, port authorities, and independent research institutes. Our extensive network, combined with over 13 years of experience, reveals our expertise and deep insights in vessel tracking and the shipping industry. Of course, FleetMon is aware of Greenhouse gas emissions debate and various parties’ viewpoints concerning the shipping industry’s effects on climate change and worldwide environmental pollution. Rather than to talk, FleetMon actively contributes to supporting transparency of CO2 emissions caused by commercial shipping. 

Research project EmissionSEA

In March 2019, FleetMon published a press release about EmissionSEA (EMS), a significant research project. EmissionSEA is funded with around 1.5 million euros by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). Since 2016, BMVI has been supporting Research & Development projects related to digital data-based applications for Mobility 4.0 with a research initiative called mFUND. Besides EMS, various inspiring projects to innovate future Mobility are part of mFUND.Read more…


Risky Manoeuvre: Giant Midship of world’s largest cruise liner “Global Dream” undertakes 80 km journey

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The world’s largest ever cruise ship is recently being built in Germany.
Keel laying has been celebrated in September 2018. Today the huge midship started its’ journey from Rostock to Wismar. The midship body is 57 metres high and has been constructed in the dockyard of Rostock Warnemünde. The local newspaper “Ostseezeitung” installed a Live stream for enthusiasts to follow the progress of the transfer, just to point out the meaning of the event.

Since this happens right in front of FleetMon’s main office, we are all excited about the view.
You can be part of the event and take a look at the huge cruise liner “Global Dream” using FleetMon’s Explorer ;).

The “GLOBAL DREAM” at FleetMon.com   simply click on “start live tracking”

image source: https://www.fleetmon.com/

In the upcoming hours the enormous segment will leave the dock, change direction and carefully move into the dockyard of Wismar. Start of the transport manoeuvre was planned for Friday (22.11.2019), 10 am and happened on schedule. According to plan the construction segment will arrive in the dockyard of Wismar on Saturday (23.11.2019) at 3 pm. Time of arrival will depend on local wind and weather conditions though. The distance between the Rostock Warnemünde and Wismar measures approximately 80 km by sea route. A total of six tugboats is needed to pull the midship out of the dockyard area. After leaving the dockyard the huge object needs to change direction. Afterwards the massive construction part is moved towards Wismar with an average speed of 2 knots.

The conveyance is regarded as a huge historical event due to the giant measures of the segment being 220 m long. Referring to MV Werften the event is a huge challenge for all involved parties. Besides six tugboats, other specialized vessels, water police department and the department for waterways and vessel traffic in Stralsund are monitoring the manoeuvre. The journey of the midship is another step  towards finishing the world’s largest cruise ship called “Global Dream” in spring 2021.

image source: https://www.mv-werften.com/de/news-und-presse/downloads.html
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EmissionSEA: Assessment of CO2 emissions from ships 

in Decarbonization, Research, Trends by

Yesterday all project members of the 1st status meeting of the research project EmissionSEA exchanged information about their previous work. Fraunhofer CML, Wismar University of Applied Sciences, DLR, JAKOTA Design Group and FleetMon are developing a software prototype based on AIS data that determines and evaluates the fuel consumption and thus the CO2 emissions of ships. Another goal is to measure performance in order to make the ships comparable with each other. This is because the CO2 emissions of the ships can be put in relation to the distance covered or the speed curve. By calculating an optimal route and speed, a target/actual comparison is possible, which results in an evaluation of the efficiency and performance of a ship. These values help shipping companies to compare their own fleet with the ships of other operators. The mFund project is scheduled to run until 31.12.2020 and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport with around 1.5 million euros.

Why the project? Since 1 August 2018, shipping companies have been obliged to report their CO2 emissions to the EU. The first report is due in 2 weeks (1 April 2019). The reporting obligation applies to the entire voyage of ships sailing in and through European waters.

Yesterday the local television also visited FleetMon, our project manager Carsten Hilgenfeld explained and answered all the questions about the project. You can get a pictorial insight into the research project in the TV.Rostock Nachrichten. Probably tomorrow at 6 p.m. Switch on or visit their media library https://www.tvrostock.de/mediathek.html.

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