Costs, not SECAs make RoRo steam slow

The issue of speed is more complex for RoRo/RoPax vessels than other segments. A Swedish team with researchers from SSPA and the University of Gothenburg has addressed the preconditions for introducing slow steaming in Northern Europe and asked operators in Scandinavian waters how they prepared and have acted under SECA. An article about this study was recently published in HANSA International Maritime Journal.

The study indicated that slow steaming is rare in the short sea RoRo/RoPax segment. It was also evident that it has been little attention from research regarding slow steaming in the RoRo/RoPax segment compared to other shipping segments. The contextual characters of the RoRo/RoPax segment with conditions shifting between geographical markets, routes and seasons making it hard to generalize results in previous research. 

The SloEuRo project made semi-structured personal or telephone interviews with companies operating in Kattegat, Skagerrak, the North and Baltic Seas. The results show that schedule flexibility, transit time and service reliability are crucial for the customers and the demand is highly price elastic.

– “RoRo/RoPax operators in the study had to choose different strategies to mitigate the upcoming SECA-directive before January 1st 2015. However, the decline in costs for bunker, and the oil-price in general, had a profound impact on the way that the operators actually handled their SECA compliance. The foreseen cost increases, did not materialize – yet”, says Christian Finnsgård, researcher at SSPA.


Costs, not SECAs make RoRo steam slow (pdf), HANSA International Maritime Journal 154. No. 1, 2017.

The SloEuRo project “Cost effective short sea RoRo shipping – to combine SECA compliance with slow steaming“ was performed between December 2014 and December 2016, with funding from The Swedish Maritime Administration. 

The illustration shows all RoRo traffic in Kattegat during the years 2014 and 2015. The map is divided into a raster of 2.9 million cells, each with a size of approximately 200x200 meters. Each cell is illuminated in different colours depending on speed difference between the raster from 2014 and 2015. There are three discrete intervals; red is faster in 2015 than in 2014, yellow is very little difference between 2015 and 2014, and green is slower in 2015 than in 2014.