Part 3, Ballast or Laden?

In our previous articles, we spoke about the various ways optimum trim could be used. For Charterers, Owners and also Operators. Today we continue our presentation and look when you could actually use optimum trim and what constraints could be encountered.

Depending on your optimum trim, your vessel’s performance could be improved if she is trimmed by the head or by the stern. This depends on a lot of factors. In case it is advisable to have her trimmed by the head than most likely you will need to add ballast once the vessel has reached open sea. Alternatively, you could load the vessel in the optimum condition and temporarily take extra ballast to keep her on even keel for maneuverability purposes in confined waters. Both ways, you will need to have “spare” deadweight available to do so. Therefore, if the vessel is laden to her draft mark, this could be difficult. However, it could also be that you pass various seasonal restrictions and the optimum trim could be used during certain stages of the entire voyage.

All commercial ship operators are, understandably, instructed to find ways (together with the Captain) to lift more cargo. Increased cargo simply means an increase in your voyage result/revenue. As a result, nobody really discusses the options a Master has when he is instructed to sail in Ballast. Light Ballast or heavy ballast is one choice to make, but also with what trim. Pretty weird if you think about it….

We noted, when talking to potential clients, that they all consider optimum trim to be viable for laden voyages only. However, most savings are actually encountered when the variations from the design conditions are most extreme. Both speed and draft wise. So actually, when taking into consideration that some ships spend as much time in Ballast as they do in Laden condition, an optimum ballast condition should be available for all ships. At the same time, as indicated earlier, nobody looks at it…..

Our product, Trim-Advisor, can help you. Rensmarine is actively working with both Owners and Charterers, in all segments, to find the best operational condition of your vessel. Not only for laden voyages, but we can also help you with calculating you optimum ballast profile. This would work for ship owners, but also for charterers. Specially if you have a time-chartered fleet, this could be very viable.

Finally, remember that fuel saving is not only a cost reduction exercise, but will also reduce your emissions. A topic currently high on all stakeholders agenda’s nowadays.

Convinced or like to know more, contact us, we are happy to jointly look how we can assist you in achieving your goals and targets, by sending us an email ( or call us (+31 10 340 0 240).