Shipowners and managers provide insight into how they use digitalisation technology to optimise their ship operations
Shipowners and managers provide insight into how they use digitalisation technology to optimise their ship operations. It is not an easy journey, but does have financial, commercial and operational benefits.
Shipping companies need this technology to meet hardening IMO expectations on emissions reductions. Digitalisation should certainly get the industry halfway to cutting carbon emissions by 50%. Which is why we need data standardisation now.
Optimised operations come from analysing operational data, mixed with experience, knowledge and information from the surrounding environment. This leads to smart navigation, weather routeing and voyage planning to cut fuel consumption and waiting times outside busy ports. In the case of engineering, digitalisation leads to condition-based maintenance and lower downtime for machinery and ships.
Both have commercial benefits and help shipping reduce its carbon footprint at a time when environmental regulators are focusing on the maritime sector.
Ships need connectivity, preferably Ka- or Ku-band VSAT, with an internet-of-things (IoT) platform for data collection, transmission and cloud storage. Shipowners and managers need to analyse this data and be able to send it to engineering experts. Issues around connectivity and online storage access are being fixed by platforms like Inmarsat Fleet Data, KVH Watch and others.
But there are still issues with standardising data and transfer protocols to enable different datasets from onboard equipment to be analysed for optimisation. Industry dialogue is needed to achieve this, which is why Riviera Maritime Media introduced its Optimised Ship Forum to bring owners, managers and operators together with system manufacturers and IoT innovators to produce results.
Our first forum, in Hamburg, Germany, on 1 October produced plenty of discussion and case studies. Schulte Group deputy chief operating officer Helge Bartels explained how the company collects data from vessels to enhance performance. Its telemetry systems, automated reporting and remote monitoring and diagnostics play a vital role in reducing operating costs.
Columbia Shipmanagement’s (CSM) Hamburg managing director Joachim Brack presented optimisation methods through performance monitoring and analytics. CSM can optimise bunker consumption, port operations, preventative maintenance, crew rotation and training, weather routeing and hazard avoidance. These are all essential for reducing costs and emissions.
During the Hamburg forum, Hapag-Lloyd Fleet Support Centre’s Martin Köpke explained how optimisation should also stretch to fleet utilisation, noting that fuel efficiency can be achieved by monitoring and optimising trim. Fuel savings soon add up across the fleet when analytics and intelligence identify optimal vessel loadings and hull conditions.
Optimisation crosses shipping sectors as demonstrated by Carnival Maritime senior vice president of technical operations Minas Miliaras. His team has reduced fuel consumption across the fleet.
But he highlighted how a lack of standardisation and transparency in IoT and digitalisation could hold back owners in their optimisation programmes. He says suppliers installing different servers on board for different pieces of equipment wastes bandwidth while transmitting the same data multiple times.
There clearly needs to be an organisation to work with industry to develop standards. It is highly wasteful consuming unnecessary ship-shore bandwidth and analytics because manufacturers cannot work together. There should be one stream, one storage and one data standard to enable multiple companies access for their own analytics.
Looking ahead to our next Optimised Ship Forum in London, on 11 December, progress should be made towards a maritime standard. There will be presentations from class and industry bodies, such as BIMCO, and case studies, with d’Amico Group already booked in.
Shipping needs to use this opportunity to form an organisation to standardise data transfer protocols to ensure access for the right people to ship, fleet performance and condition data to turn digitalisation into optimisation.