Shipping companies are looking beyond voyage planning by integrating information sources with processes and applications
Ship managers, owners and operators can cut fuel consumption and reduce emissions through intelligent routeing of vessels. Savings can also be made by integrating e-navigation services, ship reporting and fleet performance management.
Weather routeing and integrated voyage optimisation solutions can help owners and operators reduce fuel costs and meet tougher emissions-reduction regulations, in line with IMO’s proposed strategy for the industry.
Representatives from Wärtsilä Voyage and NAPA presented the latest technologies during Riviera Maritime Media-hosted Vessel optimisation: route planning that optimises scheduling and profitability webinar. This event was held on 25 May during Riviera’s Vessel Optimisation Webinar Week.
NAPA senior customer success manager for shipping solutions Ossi Mettälä explained the importance of connecting data and sharing information.
Voyage optimisation services need to bring together information on the vessel, such as how it is being operated, with weather data and forecasts along the voyage for various stakeholder requirements, he said.
It has not always been done this way though. “Traditionally, the scheduling and operation planning is done with static distance tables and fuel oil consumption curves,” said Mr Mettälä.
“But the problem field is a complex, multi-domain environment that is interfacing with sea and weather, business and technical aspects. Plus, there are several stakeholders with possibly conflicting interests.”
A solution is to enable users of optimisation software to add their own parameters and then run the program. “Define the voyage fundamentals and let the optimisation solve the rest,” said Mr Mettälä.
The main challenge is to couple the commercial and nautical constraints with vessel-specific characteristics. This complexity is beyond manual human capabilities. Therefore, NAPA voyage optimisation uses advanced algorithms and hydrodynamic calculations with naval architectural models of the ships.
“The outcome is sensitivity analytics to help users understand what the impact of voyage optimisation is,” said Mr Mettälä, “and how it affects available income from the possible route. Then this is used for navigation.”
This information is shared with other stakeholders. “Onshore operators and charterers must have access to the same information as on the vessel, including ENCs, weather, speed etc for more efficient vessel operations,” said Mr Mettälä,
This requires a co-operative platform with application interfaces for other systems and access for stakeholders.
NAPA voyage optimisation provides weather routeing with cost and income optimisation using target speed, propeller revolutions, engine load or estimated time of arrival.
It compares route alternatives for the shortest, weather-routed, past sailed voyages and operator’s custom routes.
Routes are based on electronic navigational charts (ENCs) in ECDIS and can be imported or exported, then supported by NAPA’s proprietary performance models for accurate speed and fuel consumption estimates. Wind, waves, swell, sea currents, water depth and additional safety limits are considered.
Wärtsilä Voyage business development lead for fleet optimisation Jacob Snoer Iversen highlighted three key points to effective voyage optimisation during his conclusions. He said an integrated approach is required covering all aspects of a voyage from planning, implementation and post-voyage analysis.
Solutions can provide greater levels of transparency and operational methods to decarbonise the industry, said Mr Iversen.
“Visibility and collaboration should be the full focus for the sustainable road ahead,” he said. “Decarbonisation will be important for all stakeholders going forward.”
Mr Iversen introduced Wärtsilä Voyage’s Fleet Operations Solution (FOS) as an integrated service that combines ECDIS with ENCs and digital publications. These are grouped with weather routeing and optimisation software, ship-to-shore reporting and onshore tracking of fleet performance software.
“We connect all the dots for safer navigation, reducing workload of the crew and optimising routes for vessels,” said Mr Iversen. “We brought this together in one software. We work with Weathernews Inc on the weather routeing and can work with third parties through application interfaces.”
He explained how Navi-Planner is the main component of FOS. “It makes voyage planning faster. The software can be installed remotely and requires almost no capital investment,” Mr Iversen said.
“Voyage planning is automatically done on up-to-date nautical charts and route optimisation is based on weather information and vessel specifications.”
There are checklists for planning the route to avoid hazards and onshore managers can monitor the voyage. “Onshore staff can mirror what is happening on the bridge,” Mr Iversen said. “This increases visibility, so everyone is working from the same page.”
New stations and platforms
NAVTOR has introduced its next generation of voyage planning systems and software to improve navigational safety and efficiency for owners.
The Norway-headquartered navigation solutions provider unveiled NavStation 6.0 in May, with a major upgrade to its passage planning software and new features to its digital chart table.
NAVTOR has revamped NavStation to offer seamless passage planning, faster and higher quality chart rendering, more robust cyber security and better functionality for busy vessel navigators.
“We worked hand-in-hand with the industry to recognise challenges, understand demands and provide solutions that allow our customers to fulfil their business and operational ambitions,” says NAVTOR chief executive Tor Svanes.
“We now have products and services on over 7,000 vessels worldwide, with customers in over 60 countries, and that really helps us to see through industry eyes and identify ways our digital innovations can deliver real-world benefits.”
NavStation 6.0 now includes a passage planning module, cutting administration time from an average of over three hours per voyage to 30 minutes. It also includes Weathernews Inc’s optimum ship routeing for berth-to-berth navigation, for new levels of oversight and control, says Mr Svanes.
“From both a navigator and owner/operator perspective, we saw potential for NavStation to provide new efficiencies, security and data sharing, accelerating our customers’ journeys to more sustainable, cost-effective maritime operations,” he says.
“NavStation 6.0 sets a new industry standard and, when seen as part of our wider e-navigation ecosystem, is key to enabling smarter shipping.”
NAVTOR has demonstrated increasingly ambitious development plans since US-based Accel-KKR took a majority stake in the business in August 2020. Since then, the Norwegian firm has opened new offices in Germany and Denmark, bought Houston’s Tres Solutions and launched NavFleet and NavStation 6.0.
OneOcean launched its improved OneOcean platform for voyage planning and compliance in Q2 2021, enabling vessel operators to take a holistic approach to improving decision-making on shipping routes.
OneOcean says it has remodelled the program, added new software and introduced artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce unsafe navigation. It could be used to avoid congested waterways by providing alternative routeing options.
This AI-based voyage planning solution uses available maritime data for compliant voyage plans, enabling owners to understand the risks within upcoming voyages. OneOcean now enables end-to-end passage planning, incorporating route generation, weather evaluation, environmental compliance, safety checks, optimisation and scenario evaluation.
ChartWorld has signed a joint solution partner agreement with ZeroNorth to license access to its route network, port database, and navigational safety systems. This complements ZeroNorth’s vessel optimisation platform.
Cambridge Pixel, a developer of radar display, tracking and recording sub-systems has introduced software components to enable the display of radar video on any computer, tablet or smart phone running a standard internet web browser.
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