Investing in data analytics will allow shipowners to optimise operations as they face rising costs and increasing environmental regulations
Vessel operating expenditure is set to rise by around 3-5% in 2020 from higher repair and maintenance, crewing and insurance costs. New regulations for energy efficiency and reducing emissions will also be introduced in the coming decade leading to substantial changes in ship operations and expenditure that shipping companies will need to adjust to.
Many of these cost increases could be managed through performance optimisation, according to Columbia Shipmanagement president Mark O’Neil. “Digitalisation is a tool in the ship optimisation toolbox,” he said at Riviera Maritime Media’s Optimised Ship Forum in London on 10 December.
He said owners, operators and managers can manage fuel costs through fleet and vessel analytics. “Using a performance optimisation platform, owners can save huge amounts,” he said. “It is about preventing waste, using voyage routeing, managing speed and preventing delays at ports.”
Columbia Shipmanagement, which has 370 ships under its management, developed its Performance Optimisation Control Room to deliver cost savings for owners and operators. This includes data analytics to compare ship performance and benchmark against other fleets.
Mr O’Neil thinks real-time data and its analytics are vital for optimisation. “Owners should look at what can be done better and for any innovations that can help them do that,” said Mr O’Neil. “They may only need to add small elements to existing software and hardware. To do things better for less.”
Apart from optimising fuel and manning costs, Mr O’Neil thinks owners can reduce expenditure in other areas of operation. “Huge cost can be saved,” he said. “Procurement will be the main battleground for achieving efficiencies.”
Owners can use e-procurement platforms to optimise spending on spares and maintenance, using predictive maintenance strategies to prevent unnecessary spending.
“Preventative maintenance of key engine components using sensors to identify issues will avoid delays,” said Mr O’Neil.
One such platform was presented at the forum by Kongsberg Digital manager of strategic partnerships Leni Larsen Marøen as she outlined uses of the Kognifai maritime ecosystem and ship monitoring service Vessel Insight.
“We want to make it possible for OEMs to access data in silos,” Ms Marøen said. “We are partnering with satellite communications providers and offering optimal solutions for these data streams.”
She said OEMs want access to data to “calculate fuel efficiency and for lifecycle management”, while vessel operators want information to “know their assets better”. Ms Marøen thinks further collaboration between owners and OEMs through platforms like Kognifai will deliver benefits. “It is important to bring people together and set requirements for success,” she said.
MAN Energy Solutions is working with Kongsberg Digital within Vessel Insight. They signed a memorandum of understanding in October to develop common data infrastructure for the maritime sector.
A successful trial with Vessel Insight would enable MAN to use its remote monitoring and optimisation package PrimeServ Assist to provide efficiencies during ship voyages.
“Through this co-operation, we aim to securely provide our new digital services, advanced analytics and support,” said MAN Energy Solutions head of digital and strategy Per Hansson.
He said this would help the OEM “increase the safety, reliability and predictability of vessel performance” across a fleet of ships.
Kongsberg and MAN expect this partnership will lead to efficient engine operations, longer periods between maintenance and better vessel performance.
Kongsberg also started collaborating with Cargotec subsidiary MacGregor in Q4 2019 using Vessel Insight to assist in cargo handling crane data analysis.
They are testing interfaces with MacGregor’s OnWatch Scout condition monitoring and predictive maintenance service, which is being piloted on merchant ships. MacGregor vice president for digital and business transformation Dennis Mol said this collaboration should “accelerate the testing of digital solutions, focused on further enhancing critical system safety, availability, efficiency and sustainability”.
DNV GL is partnering with Høglund Marine Solutions to develop better methods of standardising and exporting data generated from ship automation. DNV GL will use this experience to develop classification services for big data analytics. They both expect to provide owners and operators with an accurate overview of a ship’s performance and compliance with regulations.
Fleet and ship optimisation can only be achieved if data collated, transmitted and processed is of high quality and relevant, said d’Amico Group fleet performance manager Ivana Melillo at the forum. She thinks reliable data is vital for technical and commercial reporting.
“It is important to have clear and transparent data as we need to justify the technical and commercial performance,” Ms Melillo said.
D’Amico invested US$1.2Bn in a new fleet of more than 40 eco-ships during 2013-2018 and its management needs to justify this capital. “We need to monitor our ships and validate data, otherwise we will just have garbage and Excel files with numbers,” she said.
Ms Melillo’s department receives almost 5.5M data streams from hundreds of daily reports from its fleet. It also processes high-frequency data streams from 35 ships with sensor networks on board.
But her department’s work is hampered by unreliable sensor data and daily reports from these ships. “It is important to know if our investment of US$1.2Bn in eco ships has worked. If there are errors it would be important,” Ms Melillo said. There could be errors in fuel consumption measurements, daily reports and in third-party information, such as weather reports and commercial analysis. Sensors can be calibrated and replaced to reduce errors, but this is costly and time-dependent. “In real life, validation takes time – flow meter changes can take three months to complete,” said Ms Melillo.
To reduce onboard reporting errors d’Amico assesses chief engineers and masters every six months. “For reliability it is important to receive good quality data onshore and that means training and managing people on our vessels,” said Ms Melillo.
Once ashore, data can be filtered and processed. “For managing errors, it is important to define a base line and normalisation for trending and comparison,” she said. There is then value in quality data. “We can share this data with OEMs,” she explained.
It will also be mandatory in the coming decade. “We collect and verify data for IMO and EU’s emissions reporting. IMO 2030 (reducing CO2 levels) will be next and this will be our future,” said Ms Melillo.
DNV GL and StormGeo principal consultant for fleet performance management Tobias Gröger said data quality checking can be challenging as it can be determined by the positioning and calibration of sensors.
“Sensors could report doubtful information, so sensors on board need regular recalibration,” he said. “It is possible to compute data to fill in some of the gaps but determining data quality is challenging.”
Mr Gröger said there could be considerable variations in sensor readings depending on their position. “Wind speed can depend on the direction of the sensor,” he said. “Draught readings fore or aft could be 3 m offset and that is important for trim and could be for SEEMP – it could lead to different results from analysis,” Mr Gröger said. “It can distort information on hull and propulsion performance.”
However, if these variations and distortions can be overcome, there will be benefits to owners as they can “use data for fuel optimisation and predictive maintenance for engines” said Mr Gröger. “We monitor speed and temperature data and then we can identify if engine maintenance is required and share this data on a platform,” he said.
Accessibility of internet of things platforms is important for fleet monitoring, fuel optimisation and for OEMs to analyse engine performance data, said Mr Gröger. This platform would hold sensor data, information from onboard reports and external data such as automatic identification system (AIS).
“We need one platform for all of these types of data to get the most out of all data streams,” said Mr Gröger. “Whether it is auto-logging, daily and event reports or AIS, weather or tidal information.”
Opex hikes and IMO emissions cutting regulations
Maintenance prices will rise by at least 3% in 2020 because of more ships going into drydock for ballast water treatment and sulphur abatement systems to be retrofitted.
There will be reduced drydocking capacity and more expensive spares, said Drewry head of research products Martin Dixon at Riviera Maritime Media’s Optimised Ship Forum in London on 10 December.
There will also be higher insurance premiums as providers react to sustained low prices in the 2010s. “Hull and machinery insurance could rise by 10% and P&I by 6% in 2020,” said Mr Dixon. He also forecast a 2% rise in lubricant prices, 1% increase in stores procurement and 1.5% hike in manning expenditure.
However, the biggest expected expenditure rise will involve remaining compliant with IMO’s tightening regulations on fuel and energy management. Sulphur Cap 2020 on bunkers has already hiked up owners’ and operators’ operating costs, and more stringent regulatory requirements will be coming.
Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans (SEEMP) are required to improve energy efficiency and collate data for IMO’s database on fuel oil consumption, said IMO technical officer for the marine environmental division John Calleya.
“It is the responsibility of flag administrations to transfer the data to the IMO database,” he said during the forum. Ships would then be given a certificate of compliance. IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee intends to discuss how to implement an Energy Efficiency Operating Index using this data and other information in 2020 as part of the greenhouse gas reduction strategy.
“IMO’s strategy has different targets to reduce CO2 by at least 40% by 2030,” said Mr Calleya. “Individual ships will need to be 40% more efficient by 2030.” IMO’s longer-term target is to reduce the global industry’s CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 compared with 2008 levels.
Partners signed up for Fleet Data
Inmarsat has signed up new partners to its Fleet Data internet of things connectivity platform to assist ship operators to manage their vessels effectively.
Ascenz and Nautilus Labs became partners on Fleet Data in December 2019 to deliver smart shipping and predictive maintenance data.
Fleet Data is the conduit for transferring shipboard data to shore using voyage data recorders and satellite links. Data is uploaded to a central cloud-based database and accessed through an application process interface (API).
Ascenz’s Shipulse solution will connect directly to the Fleet Data API. It will conduct further analysis of data to determine key performance insights and customised reports from monitoring fuel consumption, bunkering and engine performance.
Nautilus Labs’ application helps automate data collection as part of the proprietary fleet optimisation platform and provides owners with predictive data to reduce fuel consumption.
In November, ABB Marine & Ports became a certified application provider to Fleet Data. This includes an API to ABB’s software for analytics, monitoring and decision-support of ships, enhancing efficiency and benchmarking fleet performance.
Finnish start-up nauticAi also joined Fleet Data to provide its Bridge Operations Quality Assurance services via an API. This type of service is used by large cruise liners Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp. It provides a 24/7 continuous monitoring of sensor data and alarms, and raises alerts if operations deviate from defined operational limits.