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Slow Steaming as Part of SECA Compliance Strategies among RoRo and RoPax Shipping Companies

Journal article
Authors Zeeshan Raza
Johan Woxenius
Christian Finnsgård
Published in Sustainability
Volume 11
Issue 5
Pages 1-19
ISSN 2071-1050
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Business Administration, Industrial and Financial Management & Logistics
Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Northern LEAD
Pages 1-19
Language en
Keywords slow steaming; SECA compliance; short sea shipping; competitiveness
Subject categories Business Administration, Transport Systems and Logistics


Many geographically peripheral member states of the EU are critically dependent on short sea Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) and mixed freight–passenger (RoPax) shipping services for intra-European trade. The implementation of the Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA) regulation was expected to raise the operating cost for RoRo and RoPax shipping, and slow steaming was proposed as an immediate solution to save the increased cost. Previous research has investigated the issue of slow steaming and SECA using a quantitative approach. However, the reaction of the RoRo and RoPax shipping firms toward slow steaming as a mitigating factor in the face of expected additional SECA compliance costs using qualitative methodology has not been explored yet. In addition, the knowledge regarding the impact of slow steaming on the competitiveness of short sea RoRo and RoPax with respect to service quality is limited. This article has addressed these issues through the analysis of multiple cases focusing on RoRo and RoPax firms operating in the North and Baltic Seas. Overall, our findings suggest that the 0.1% SECA regulation of 2015 requiring the use of higher-priced MGO has not caused slow steaming in the RoRo and RoPax segments to a large extent. The increased bunker prices are partially transferred to the customers via increased Bunker Adjustment Factor and partly borne by the shipowners. We have found that out of 11 case firms in our study only one RoRo and one RoPax firm have reduced vessel speeds to compensate for the additional SECA compliance costs. We conclude that for RoPax and RoRo segment bunker prices, rigorous competition and, most important, different service quality requirements have significantly restricted the potential implementation of slow steaming.

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