Digitalisation solutions can help tug owners improve fleet performance and reduce costs, while ports can use software to optimise berthing
Tug owners can improve port operations and tug dispatch by investing in software to optimise these activities, raising the chance of securing work for their tugs, improving fleet utilisation and reducing operational and capital expenditure.
Kotug-owned OptiPort general manager Patrick Everts* explained how data enables optimised tug dispatch for towage and berthing work. “We can use data to realise smart tug operations,” he said. “Data supports decision making, asset optimisation, remote monitoring, voyage optimisation and better tug deployment.”
Mr Everts identified different types of data, including static, historic data for trend analysis and live information for immediate action. OptiPort can help owners to reduce operating expenditure by up to 30% using artificial intelligence (AI)-based software and algorithms to manage tug dispatch. It can identify where inefficiencies are and provide solutions.
“There is a lot of sub-optimisation in ports,” said Mr Everts. “Tugs sail much faster than they should, wasting fuel.” This could be due to dispatchers working multiple jobs with several tugs, unable to cover them all.
“There are huge savings – we have proven 25-40% of operating expenditure savings”
“Dispatchers need to decide which tug to use, when and where,” Mr Everts continued. “There are trade-offs when scheduling multiple tugs. It is important to make the right decisions, supported by data.”
Cloud-based OptiPort provides data, insights and decision advice. “There are huge savings – we have proven 25-40% of operating expenditure savings,” said Mr Everts, “by better scheduling assets and with actionable intelligence providing layers of support to decision makers.”
He provided an example of optimising the dispatch of a tug with 90 tonnes of bollard pull. This tug’s route and voyage can be optimised to reach the job on time without excessive fuel consumption by mobilising hours earlier. Or companies can avoid crew overtime payments by sailing back to base speedily.
Operators can reduce stress in dispatch offices by automating planning and can optimise use of their assets, completing more jobs with lower-cost tugs, said Mr Everts.
LionRock Maritime uses AIS and other shipping and environmental data to enable owners to optimise their tugboat fleets. LionRock founder and managing director Rick Broersma* said software enables operators to make better commercial decisions and gain competitive advantages.
“We use AIS data, add metadata and look at the movement of tugs and ships,” he said. “We use information from ships and tugs – their dimensions and bollard pull – and operational data.”
LionRock uses this data to provide commercial port operations information to tug owners. “We identify tug jobs and use our knowledge about the industry to provide data-driven insights,” said Mr Broersma.
This can include estimating the number of tows and duration of each job, demand for tug services, fluctuations in port calls and potential for future growth. “Data is critical for commercial success,” said Mr Broersma. It can be used for contract renewal negotiations, retenders and future fleet investment.
Innovez One software can be used to optimise port management and sea transportation. Singapore-based R W Marine Services has started using Innovez One’s marineM solution to streamline its ordering, vessel and job planning, real-time updating and billing.
MarineM enables R W Marine Services to dispatch jobs for its port service vessels wirelessly to mobile devices and monitor its fleet’s movements and the progress of every job simultaneously using GPS and AIS tracking. Additionally, real-time communications between marineM users and live operations of the fleet will boost communications in the operating environment.
This platform provides information management systems that link together each stage of the sea transportation chain, covering job management, planning and dispatch, tracking, monitoring and billing, improving R W Marine Services’ visibility of its operations.
Innovez One will roll out the marineM services in the coming months to the fleet of supply boats. These vessels are used for sea transportation handling, conveying passengers, tank cleaning, de-slopping and cargo handling to or from ships in the Singapore anchorages, outside port limits, South China Sea and Malacca Strait.
Port of Gothenburg will start using software to improve ship berthing and to reduce emissions. It worked with Awake.AI to develop Berth Planner as it begins to digitalise port operations.
“Berth Planner is just one of a series of investments we are making to propel the Port of Gothenburg into the future,” said port IT manager Martin Johannesson. “We are working on several fronts at the port, not only to make calls more efficient but also to visualise freight flows.”
Berth Planner will be used by berth planning personnel at the port and externally by various parties involved in port calls. “This integrated, smart berth planning tool will optimise port calls and improve collaboration between all port actors,” said Awake.AI vice president of products Simo Salminen.
Traffic co-ordinators at port control, safety and security co-ordinators at the energy terminal, and the port’s production planners will have a schematic overview of operations, so they can view which ships are moored at the different berths.
“We can choose from a list of time slots for each berth,” said Gothenburg Port Authority traffic co-ordinator Fredrik Rauer. “This allows us to see which vessel is due to moor at a particular berth at a particular time. We can allocate a [berthing] status that has already been co-ordinated with the terminal, and by doing so, we can see which vessels have been confirmed and which are pending.”
Berth planner enables faster turnaround times and expands the value in port services including tug assistance.
DP World has implemented its cloud-based terminal operating system (TOS) solution at the Port of Luanda, Angola. Cargoes TOS+ encompasses all IT and operational systems under one umbrella, providing users with real-time information on vessel, gate, and yard movements. DP World said significant performance and productivity increases were recorded after implementation, due to digitalising and automating previously manual processes.
*Patrick Everts and Rick Broersma were speaking at Riviera Maritime Media’s Smart tug operations: harnessing data and digitalisation webinar, during ITS TUGTECHNOLOGY Webinar Week in March 2021