AI-assisted vessel dispatching tool will save tug owners US$200,000 per vessel per year
PortX and Helm Operations have formed a strategic partnership to develop technology that will transform harbour towage by deploying artificial intelligence (AI) in port dispatching, aiming to save operators more than US$1M per port.
Lower fuel consumption and less crew overtime will save up to US$200,000 per tug annually. The service will also reduce costs in chartering third-party tugs.
PortX’s cutting-edge AI-based port dispatching system OptiPort will be combined with Helm Connect harbour dispatching and operations software to improve harbour towage operations scheduling.
OptiPort uses AI to optimise vessel dispatch based on crew working hours, currents, tides, vessel characteristics, fuel consumption and availability. It dynamically optimises harbour schedules every three minutes, updating operators on the dispatch requirements in the port.
This results in the most optimal and cost-effective dispatch schedules for any harbour or fleet.
Helm Operations will incorporate OptiPort in a new version of its Helm Connect platform. This provides vessel dispatch and operations software to harbour tug operators worldwide.
Users of this platform with OptiPort’s AI engine will receive automated suggestions on the best towing vessel, departure time and running speed based on the current schedule.
Helm Operations chief executive Ron deBruyne said this simplifies dispatch management, reducing fuel and overtime costs.
“We have been incredibly impressed by the cost savings offered by OptiPort,” he said. “We have seen the benefits of AI-driven technology first-hand and believe that this is a major step forward for the industry.”
PortX managing director Vincent van Os said OptiPort can be implemented through Helm Connect “without adding hardware on the vessels or in the dispatch control room”. It can assist owners to make better use of their fleets.
“This leads to real cost savings that can improve operators’ bottom lines almost immediately upon implementation,” said Mr van Os.
Kotug International uses PortX’s OptiPort software to optimise in-port vessel operations for towing. This Netherlands-headquartered tug owner has achieved a significant reduction in mobilisation miles and subsequent fuel reductions using the software.
“It all comes down to the smarter dispatching of tugs,” explained Kotug International chief executive Ard-Jan Kooren. Kotug has applied OptiPort big data analytics to integrate available data sources, such as port management and agency information with actual vessel positions. “This integration allows us to provide the most optimal schedule for any given situation in the port,” he said.