The shipping industry shows potential for improvements in energy efficiency. Nonetheless, shipping companies appear reluctant to adopt these seemingly cost efficient technical and operational measures aiming at reducing energy costs. Such phenomenon is not specific to the shipping industry and is commonly referred to as the energy-efficiency gap. Decades of research in other sectors have contributed to the development of taxonomy of economic, organizational and psychological barriers that determine energy efficiency-gaps through the use of a variety of research frameworks. This article aims to apply this research in the shipping context through interviews, and review of existing literature and applications from other industries, with the objective of providing useful insight for shipping managers. The article discusses examples of barriers that are typical to shipping and that are related to information asymmetries and power structures within organizations. Managers of shipping firms are encouraged to look through their organizations in search of principal agent problems and power structures among the possible causes for energy-efficiency gaps in their companies’ operations and possibly strive towards organizational change.
It was originally presented in a draft form at the 2011 conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME). The paper was also included in a rewritten form in my licentiate thesis, which is more or less the version now accepted.