Itsays with a weight of at least 140t this will be a costly retrofit operationwhich will take around 12 days per ship to complete.

The plan is for the first change, which it estimates will create fuel savings of 1-2%, to take place early in 2013.

Itsays individual business cases will be developed for each vessel class bymonitoring the historic sailing pattern data to examine whether a replacementmakes economic sense.

“Thepurpose of bulbous bows is to even out waves created alongside the vessel, thusreducing the propulsion power needed,” it says.

“Large container vessels are typically designed forspeeds of 25 knots, but with today’s slow steaming the bulbous bows are oftenout of shape and thus generate high levels of resistance.”

Theidea to remove bulbous bows is among a number of projects designed to fine-tuneMaersk’s fleet using technical solutions that will improve fuel efficiency.

“Retrofitsare the biggest thing within energy-efficient shipping right now,” says SteffenHartvig Nielsen, head of vessel optimisation in Maersk Maritime Technology.

“AtMaersk we have worked on this for years, but we keep exploring and evaluatingnew ideas to make sure we’re at the front of the industry.”

“Andwith overall fuel consumption costing more than $7bn across the Maersk shippingbusinesses, even a 1% reduction makes a huge contribution.”

Forexample, Nielsen says Maersk Line has saved almost $90m in energy costs overthree years through higher propulsion efficiency by measuring and challengingthe performance of individual vessels.

Writingin the Maersk Post, the Danish shipowner said it also plans to cut outturbochargers that are not needed when slow steaming. Using a valve it can switchthe turbo off and on when it is needed saving a further 1.2%.

Italso intends to expand its installation of boilers in the chimney of theauxiliary engines in a move to reuse heat and alleviate oil-fired boilers.

“Thissolution is already in place on many of Maersk Line’s vessels and saves 0.65%of total fuel consumption,” the company said.

Maerskalso plans to adjust the engine cooling system to only pump seawater whenneeded, thus saving pump power usage. This will save around 0.6% of fuelconsumption.

Lastly,it will consider installing fins on its ship’s propellers to eliminate thevortex created behind the prop, thus reducing torque and converting it intouseful thrust.

Thiswould save 1.3% of fuel with installation currently being investigated both forMaersk Line and Maersk Tankers.

RSPlatou Markets estimates that all in all, the various improvements amount toefficiencies of between 4.8% and 5.8% which on fuel costs of $7bn per year isabout $350m.