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CMA CGM saves 5 percent on fuel by retrofitting

The world's third-largest container carrier, French CMA CGM, has launched a retrofitting process and is modifying the bulbous bows on a series of mid-size vessels. The carrier stands to save around five percent on fuel.

CMA CGM will change the bulbous bows on a series of the carrier's mid-size container ships in line with the other container carriers that use slow steaming.

The French carrier - the third-largest in the world - has removed the bulbous bows on 15 ships already and has replaced them with a new bow better suited for slower speeds, and now another 10 ten ships will undergo the same procedure.

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The design of the bulb on the submerged part of the bow that breaks the water for the ship has turned out to have a major impact on ships' fuel consumption. CMA CGM's fleet has reduced its speed from 24 knots to between 16-18 knots. The water breaking resistance varies a great deal depending on the design of the ship's bulbous bow.

15 ships were retrofitted at yards in 2012 and 2013, and now they will be joined by another 15. CMA CGM explains to ShippingWatch that the carrier is retrofitting bulbs on 5,700, 8,500 and 9,400 teu vessels, and that the energy consumption per ship will be reduced by more than five percent.

Other carriers, including Maersk Line, have also retrofitted vessels to change the design of their bulbous bows.

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