By combining big data analytics with machine learning and advances in battery technology, tug owners can find a recipe for cost- and fuel-efficient newbuildings for smart ports
DNV GL segment director for offshore service vessels Arnstein Eknes, in his presentation at Riviera Maritime Media’s Smart Tug Operations Conference, in Singapore, on 16 September, set out the equation he believes will help tug owners to leverage technological advancement in data and vessel technologies.
Mr Eknes sees batteries and data playing a dominant role in future tug operations in smart ports -- if owners are willing to invest.
“Smart technologies are transforming the industry,” Mr Eknes said at the conference. “Tug owners are agile and can take a lead in developing smart technologies.”
Mr Eknes expects technology trends to have a major impact on tug and port operations. “There is revolution in three areas,” he explained.
According to Mr Eknes, these areas are:
“When combining these we get something interesting,” said Mr Eknes. “There are developments in these three areas simultaneously, and that is hitting us now and at a fast speed.”
And tug owners can take advantage of these technology shifts, adapt operations and invest appropriately for future towage and environmental requirements, he said.
Mr Eknes advised owners to use digitalisation technologies for large data analytics to gain insight into the operational profile of their vessels, then use this information to decide how to invest in new tugs with lower fuel consumption, fewer emissions and less maintenance.
“Once owners have the data, they can start acting on the biggest cost savings,” said Mr Eknes.
“How to lower fuel costs, how to manage maintenance, become environmentally friendly and safer. To be more of what the terminal and port would like to see,” he said.
Mr Eknes added that tug investments could be aligned with port infrastructure developments, for example “if the port wants to make investments to support tug operations, such as shore power, then owners would have a locked-in end customer”.
He thinks smart tugs can be part of smart ports and smart cities with owners helping to drive future technologies, such as hydrogen-fuelled propulsion and gigabit broadband connectivity.
Future developments in shipping can also be trialled on tugboats,
“This is a good motivation for testing new technology, equipment and solutions,” said Mr Eknes. “Tugs operating in smart cities can be part of the catalyst – it is a win-win for everyone.”