Two software companies have combined forces to provide online mariner training and document administration
Helm Operations has partnered with ACTion Group to improve inland waterway vessel operational safety in North America.
They will jointly offer safety management, document administration and regulatory compliance services to inland marine companies.
As part of the agreement, ACTion will offer safety management services via Helm Operation’s Helm Connect platform. It will then begin to phase out its legacy document management software.
ACTion has adopted sector digitalisation by developing its own software solutions. It also partnered with Seamen’s Church Institute to support online training for mariners and shore staff.
ACTion vice president Adam Foret said vessel operators using Helm Connect will use its services in everyday operations and comply with US Coast Guard’s Subchapter M regulations regarding inland waterway vessel operations.
“Between our expertise in safety management systems and Helm Connect’s data management abilities, we will be able to provide a complete Subchapter M compliance solution,” said Mr Foret.
“Helm Connect is quickly becoming the industry standard for safety management software.”
More than 180 companies use Helm Connect to manage vessel maintenance, compliance, operations, and personnel management. This includes seven of North America’s top ten marine operators. More than 4,000 vessels now use the software platform.
Helm Operations chief executive and founder Ron deBruyne puts this success down to the group’s collaboration with industry leaders to “help our customers address the challenges of new regulations and technology”.
Port and tug cost cutting
In Q2 2019, Helm Operations teamed up with PortX to integrate the OptiPort harbour docking management system into Helm Connect. This service could offer savings of US$1M per port and US$200K per tug.
OptiPort uses data from AIS, weather and other sources to recommend schedules based on job requirements, wind speed and wave heights, as well as criteria defined by customers. These recommendations will include departure and arrival times, as well as the most fuel-efficient speeds to move to and from vessels as they dock.
“Our initial pilots focused primarily on optimising fuel consumption by using the most efficient tug for each job, as well as identifying the optimal departure time and most efficient speed for mobilisation and demobilisation between jobs,” explained Mr deBruyne.
“We found that about 50% of the savings come from fuel cost reduction from optimising speed, and about 50% comes from using more efficient tugs for specific jobs.
“As we implement the revenue optimisation part of the project, we see additional savings of 25-50% are possible as companies using Optiport use their own tugs and reduce work chartered out to other operators.”
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.
Smart tug operations and propulsion technologies will be discussed at Riviera Maritime Media’s Smart Tug Operations Conference on 16 September 2019, in Singapore.