Integrating innovative solutions for ship design has always been a great challenge for the maritime sector due to complex design and construction processes. With this scenario in mind, the objective of this study was to develop a procedure to evaluate the potential benefits arising from the integration of innovative light-weight structures in ship hull structural design. To achieve such an objective, a hybrid light-weight ship hull structural design solution, in which aluminium honeycomb sandwich panels were used to build the conventional steel inner side shell of the cargo holds, was adopted for a bulk carrier. The authors of this study used a multiple criteria decision-making approach. An optimal ship hull structural design solution was identified based on capital cost, voyage cost, annual cost, energy efficiency design index, dismantling–reselling cost, cargo transportation, energy consumption and carbon footprint. The optimal solution, identified with the multiple criteria decision-making approach, improved the ship’s efficiency and costs by combining the hybrid structural design with efficient cargo transportation. In addition, using recycled aluminium was found to be a promising strategy to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint related to the shipbuilding process.
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