PT Shipmanagement managing director Patrick Toll explains why data sharing and a full understanding of power consumption are crucial for voyage planning
We need an industry-wide approach to push voyage planning into a new chapter. This will come about through collaboration and by sharing data. It is something we really want to do. But questions remain over who owns the data.
Involving charterers and ports with shipping companies will take voyage planning to a new level.
At present, voyage planning sees the operators or captains create a safe route to the final destination. But many of the available tools to achieve this are complex and difficult to operate; they need to be more ship-centric to support crew and improve the situation on board and should be cloud-based for easy data access.
With new systems being developed, we can see improvements in terms of planning and active routeing, which result in higher efficiency. But still, these cover time spent at sea, for basic route planning.
Further elements of voyage planning include awareness of engine consumption and power management. These are essential for voyage planning. The amount of available power and power demands should be controlled, allowing the running of ship engines for optimum performance and within a specific fuel consumption window, remembering that specific fuel consumption almost doubles at low loads of operation.
Also important is the bunker quality and knowing how much energy is in the fuel – especially as the industry is turning to low-sulphur fuels – and the weather encountered during the voyage.
There are projects ongoing to connect all the stakeholders from the start of the voyage to the final port arrival, to enable communication with port pilots and vessel traffic control systems with the aim of making just-in-time port arrivals possible. This will have a huge impact on voyage efficiency.
Information is important for optimising port operations, especially for the liner and container business. With data sharing, ports can be ready for when the vessel arrives and optimise its time in port.
Some ports, such as the Port of Hamburg, have already created digital twins. This allows tracking of vessels and traffic control to see if the port is congested. Here, data sharing would increase the model’s accuracy and allow even better performance of the port and subsequently improve a vessel’s voyage efficiency; but, this needs data sharing, which I see as being very difficult between all stakeholders.
Data distribution within the industry would be beneficial to voyage planning, but there is still competition between carriers, which burns data sharing.
On the other side, if we achieve savings through better energy management, or other means, we run the risk of receiving over-consumption claims from charterers.
So, we keep all data that has been collected during the vessel’s life. This enables us to use the best trim and power combination, if power allows. But our biggest challenge as an industry is to overcome the problem that no one wants to share data for voyage and port planning.
Patrick Toll presented his views during Riviera Maritime Media’s Voyage planning for maximum vessel efficiency webinar.
He was joined on the webinar panel by Napa Shipping Solutions senior research engineer Teemu Manderbacka, Van Weelde Shipping technical director Raoul de Troije and Coach Solutions sales manager Ulla Knudsen.
Watch the Voyage planning for maximum vessel efficiency webinar in our webinar library