Go beyond weather routeing to optimise ship voyages
Voyage optimisation has become more interactive with new services, collaborations and application platforms. Weather routeing, combined with other environmental data and legal information, produces concise route planning, regulations compliance and reduced fuel consumption.
Navtor brought all this together with version 5.3 of its NavStation route optimisation workstation in Q3 2020. It joined forces with Weathernews Inc (WNI) to integrate weather services with optimum ship routeing into its digital chart table NavStation. This streamlines tasks by combining all planning and routeing processes on a single, cyber-secure platform.
Electronic navigational charts (ENCs) are central to NavStation 5.3, with WNI input creating another layer. Admiralty digital navigation publications, NavArea warnings, environmental regulations and security alerts are also available.
“We have created a single platform in one comprehensive vessel planning station for optimal safety, efficiency, compliance and environmental performance, for cutting fuel consumption while saving shipowner operational expenditure,” says Navtor chief executive Tor Svanes. “Our collaboration is a win-win for everyone, and we look forward to building our relationship and enabling smarter, more cost effective and sustainable shipping far into the future.”
NavStation 5.3 takes navigators from berth to berth, with no need to piece together routes and collect data from different sources. It has automated processes, including passage planning, to reduce administration time and errors. NavStation links to Navtor’s connected e-Navigation ecosystem for data sharing between vessels, fleets and onshore management teams, to monitor optimum routes and assess fuel savings.
Merger and integration
Cornes Group founded Voyager Worldwide through merging its own business Cornes Charts with Global Navigation Solutions (GNS) and Safe Navigation. This combined company provides e-navigation services to more than 1,200 shipping companies and 11,000 vessels worldwide.
It has a large installed base, proven cloud-based infrastructure and a web-based data analytics solution for ship management. “We support shipping companies through the next phase of the digital transformation to deliver new levels of safety and efficiency,” says Voyager Worldwide chief executive Kent Lee.
This merger combines GNS’s Voyager software platform with Cornes’ navigational charts. “Together we plan to build new solutions that combine artificial intelligence, automation and data analytics, giving our users the ability to predict and plan for the future and enhance safety and efficiency across the world fleet,” said Mr Lee.
Voyager Worldwide’s onboard software the Voyager Planning Station runs on the back-of-bridge workstation and computers in onshore fleet and vessel managers’ offices, which run the web-based Voyager Fleet Insight application. This is all brought together in Voyager Cloud for remote and secure access to ship navigation data and voyage information.
OneOcean launched EnviroManager+ in July for vessel fleet managers to deploy bespoke company policies and environmental procedures during routes. They can then provide position-based information and clarity across the fleet with location-specific policies ensuring crews have the right information at the right time to make operational decisions.
EnviroManager+ mitigates the risk of costly errors, such as straying into territorial waters, and helps owners avoid penalties for environmental non-compliance.
“Through insights gathered from customer input, we identified a need for shoreside teams to provide onboard crew with clear guidance around company policies quickly,” says OneOcean chief executive Martin Taylor.
“Understanding what actions can be undertaken based on company policies in relation to maritime legislation and the location of a vessel is a big task for crew,” he adds. “Our aim is to help the shipping industry go above and beyond minimum regulatory requirements, providing customers with a practical way to enforce company policies and reduce risk.”
For example, EnviroManager+ can instruct crew to carry out checks and procedures before entering local or environmentally controlled zones, such as US waters.
DTN, formerly MeteoGroup, released a new version of its onboard weather routeing software, Ship Performance Optimisation System (SPOS), with more ship voyage options, in May. Inside SPOS9 is increased route network density for more optimised passages, allowing shipowners to reduce fuel costs during voyages.
DTN updated the route network for creating optimised routes through open waters to avoid adverse weather and sea conditions, or to take advantage of prevailing winds. It has also increased routeing options within restricted waters. This helps ship operators plot ship passages while managing shipping costs, fuel consumption, safety and sustainability.
Optimised weather routeing helps operators overcome these challenges and operational hurdles. SPOS combines weather forecasts, sea conditions and the ship’s specific characteristics and cargo, plus speed-fuel curves, to calculate the most efficient and safest route with minimal fuel consumption and emissions, while anticipating oncoming weather and sea conditions.
Poseidon Navigation Services developed Challenger software to provide seafarers with ENCs and e-Publications from Admiralty including from the vector chart and overlay services. It also provides mariners with weekly notices, updated ENCs and NavArea warnings.
There is a web portal for inventory management, tracking and ENC ordering and a built-in route planner. Other functions include a correction log with new edition alerts, web synchronisation, notices-report generator and a backup facility for weekly or monthly data retrieval.
StratumFive has developed its Podium suite of integrated data sources for voyage optimisation and e-navigation. This workspace connects applications and voyage data from different sources and third parties.
Users can build their own dashboards, customised data mapping, interactive displays and alerts using Podium, which unifies and visualises billions of data points and scales. StratumFive’s Podium partnership programme enables start-ups and existing digital providers to deliver services to ship operators and managers. There are a series of inhouse applications for voyage monitoring, weather routeing, regulations compliance and tracking.
In July, Danelec Marine’s ship-to-shore data automation solution DanelecConnect was added to Podium. This uses IoT infrastructure to collect operational and technical data on vessels, based around voyage data recorders.
Ocean data enhances passage planning
Ocean state information can be accessed for optimised routeing through DNV GL’s Veracity platform. Tidetech Commercial Marine has made its tidal and currents information available on Veracity, enabling users to access this data through an application interface. Vessel owners can use this data to save fuel and increase vessel efficiency.
Tidetech provides high resolution forecast modelling of coastal tides and currents in critical locations such as the Malacca Strait and English Channel where there is a significant concentration of shipping, currents and tides.
Operators can integrate tide and current data into passage planning processes and reduce voyage time. Tidetech constructs numerical models to forecast tidal elevations, currents, storm and tide surges, drawing on the skills of former UK Government researchers who developed the world’s first operational tide-surge model.
“From simulations run for shipowners on their routes, we have proven definitively that on the North Atlantic there are more potential cost savings from optimising against currents in UK coastal and northern European waters than there are across the whole Atlantic,” says Tidetech managing director Penny Haire.
Tidetech has meteorological and oceanographic datasets and routinely accesses government and academic sources worldwide for inclusion into its catalogue. This includes forecast and hindcast data for wind, waves and currents. Customers include major shipping lines, weather routeing companies and vessel efficiency software and service providers. This includes Napa, Pole Star, StratumFive, Danaos and Wärtsilä.