An Eye on Fuel Consumption with Eco-Pilot.

In order to reduce costs, the French ship owner Loïc Thomas has developed an efficient system for tracking fuel consumption.
The usage display is installed directly in the field of view of the ship operator.

The shipping company that today operates under the name Thomas Services Maritimes (TSM) was founded in 1905 in Rouen (France) by Captain Albert Ruault, the great great great grandfather of Loïc Thomas. Ruault purchased a used tugboat in Ireland and went into business on the Seine in Rouen. The company grew and grew, and with eight tugs in 1994, TSM had become the top dog in the inland waterways of Rouen. In 2000 TSM founded subsidiaries in Bordeaux, Dieppe and Brest. The fleet at that time numbered 15 ships. Today TSM has 17 ships, most of them powerful tugboats with between 2,000 hp and 6,000 hp. Loïc Thomas loves his work, even in the face of the many diverse decisions that he is confronted with daily.

Loïc and his team have to react flexibly in order to keep customers satisfied. Moreover, decisions have to be made that are of long-term strategic importance, affecting the company in terms of investments, know-how and capabilities. For companies like TSM, a ship equates to an investment lasting over 30 years. When making decisions about the specifications of a new ship, part of the job is predicting future shipping assignments and customer needs. Ships operating on inland waterways like barges, as well as tugs and offshore working ships, continue to increase in terms of performance. Higher output inevitably also leads to increased fuel consumption. Like all maritime companies, TSM struggles with the costs of operating its ships.


This article is the first in a series on the fuel consumption measurement on ships operating on rivers. Starting with this issue, we will be offering four articles looking at the topic from different perspectives. After presenting the history of an innovative business and the man behind it who introduced fuel consumption measurement on his own ships, we report in three further issues on the technology used in the fuel consumption measurement system, the business aspects of the investment as well as installation and getting everything up and running.


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