Combining AIS and navigation chart information can help shipmanagers and owners reduce operating expenditure by US$100,000 per year
Global navigation solutions group, GNS, has introduced a fleet insight package which integrates automatic identification system (AIS) data with voyage and electronic chart information to reduce shipowner operating costs.
Its Voyager Fleet Insight (VFI) can save owners between 30% and 70% on their navigation data costs. It helps owners improve visibility of their vessels and simplifies compliance with IMO and port state control requirements, said GNS chief executive Paul Stanley.
“Shipmanagers and owners can use this information to manage their own fleets and benchmark their vessels,” he told Maritime Digitalisation & Communications. Managers can monitor the navigation data and electronic navigational charts (ENCs) they are purchasing to reduce overall payments and fill any gaps.
“There is a lot of wastage and a lot of charts are purchased but not used on voyages,” said Mr Stanley. “Ships may only use 30% of the charts purchased and even the best owners’ ships may use just 70%. That is US$10,000s wasted each year.”
He explained that an owner of deepsea vessels could spend US$12,000 per year on navigational information; 30% of this is around US$3,600 and 70% is US$8,400 per year. “For a fleet of 30 ships it could be more than US$100,000. It is a level of overspending that shows things can be done more cost effectively,” Mr Stanley explained.
“There is a lot of wastage. For a fleet of 30 ships it could be more than US$100,000”
Owners can use VFI for vessel tracking, monitoring sailing times, voyage performance monitoring or to track progress against charter party terms by overlaying the approved route on the vessel track.
VFI’s management functionality gives shipping companies transparency in terms of the ENCs, paper charts and nautical publications their vessels need. It compares this to how much they should be paying for the products they need for compliance and safe navigation.
“VFI can be used for analysing whether ships stay in ports longer than others and their voyage speeds, which is useful to superintendents for benchmarking vessel performance against expectations,” said Mr Stanley.
This is conducted using the AIS data provided in near real-time for shore-based managers. Historic AIS and navigational data is also available. “We have a massive database of almost 1.5Bn data points,” said Mr Stanley. “We have captured vessel positions using AIS every hour and have all the port call information over the last three years.”
This information goes back to 2015 and includes a record of trading, marine incidents, vessel port calls, anchorage times and sea hours. These have applications in operational planning, forecasting and budget management.
VFI maintains lists of technical publications required by each vessel’s flag state, vetting and port inspection histories for key stakeholders. It enables marine and HSQE managers to close any gaps in vessel inventories and monitor actual compliance against regulations and key performance indicators.
AIS data is kept confidential and information is kept in a secure portal. “Our data is encrypted and the portal is cloud-based, firewalled and access is with logins and passwords,” said Mr Stanley.
This first version of VFI has been trialled with existing subscribers to GNS’ Voyager services. A second version is under development that will include additional information, such as weather and ocean data, which could be used for further analysis of ship performance during voyages.
Automatic identification system (AIS) data is obtained from ships and supplied to vessels through a global network of coastal stations and constellations of satellites. GNS obtains AIS data from IHS Markit for its fleet insight service.
In June, IHS Markit announced an alliance with satellite operator exactEarth to offer AIS Platinum for real-time maritime intelligence. This service includes high-frequency AIS data and coverage of vessel movements worldwide using exactView RT which includes more than 60 maritime satellite payloads.
This is coupled with more than 2,000 IHS Markit terrestrial AIS stations positioned in high-density areas along coastal locations and around busy ports worldwide. IHS Markit provides global trade intelligence, commodity movements and ship information, which is available to vessel operators, technical managers, charterers and traders. AIS Platinum could also be used by customs and border agencies, defence intelligence analysts and compliance officers.
AIS Platinum’s combination of satellite and terrestrial AIS sources would be useful in areas of high density in vessel movements, such as in the Gulf of Mexico and South China Sea. Here, it can be difficult for data detection due to the volume of vessels in close proximity.
Iridium Communications is nearing completion of its Next constellation of low Earth orbit satellites with AIS payloads on board. By the beginning of October, Iridium had 65 of these satellites in orbit and was steadily commissioning and testing them.
It has one more launch of 10 satellites by SpaceX this year, and then it will have the full constellation and in-orbit spares in place. The constellation is comprised of six polar orbiting planes, each containing 11 operational crosslinked satellites, for a total of 66 satellites in the active constellation. There will be nine in-orbit spares and six ground spares for redundancy and replacement in the future.
Spire has built a constellation of 61 low Earth orbit nanosatellites for vessel tracking and other applications. The latest launch was accomplished in July when four Lemur2 satellites were placed in orbit.
These nanosatellites have a lifespan of less than five years so need to be constantly replaced. Spire can manufacture two nanosatellites per week, which means they can be launched by different providers.
Spire has built 81 nanosatellites and had 18 launches on these vehicles: Antares, Atlas-5, and H-IIB cargo missions, Dnepr, India’s PSLV, Soyuz, and Rocket Lab’s Electron. In August, Spire signed an agreement with Arianespace for another launch. This will see Spire satellites launched on the new Vega launch vehicle during a test flight.
Orbcomm, another provider of satellite AIS data, completed its OG2 satellite constellation in 2015. It has since focused on opening new internet of things (IoT) applications and markets for these satellites and the information.
In October, Orbcomm received authorisation to provide data over its satellites to a Chinese telecommunications group. Orbcomm’s Chinese partner Asia Pacific Navigation Telecommunications Satellite will work with China Gateway Earth Station to deliver IoT and AIS data to Chinese organisations.