Communications breakdown, technology implementation doubts and malware infection worries are preventing navigators from using optimised routeing
Vast numbers of vessel navigators are not using digital navigation and route optimisation to their fullest because of the challenges of implementing and using the technology. Shore-based management is investing in advanced voyage planning and weather routeing services, but many bridge teams are not following these optimised passages.
StormGeo vice president of shipping Svein Kåre Giskegjerde thinks an integrated approach to voyage planning, weather routeing and route optimisation in one platform will increase the uptake of these services on ships.
He estimated that half of the weather-optimised routes created by StormGeo software for 6,000 ships are not being used by navigation officers. “The investment has happened, and the technology is there, but it is not being implemented,” he told Maritime Digitalisation & Communications.
Part of the reason why 50% of calculated optimised routes are not followed is doubts over digital change on the bridge. “Even when shore-based management invests in technology it is the vessel’s crew that often needs to use it,” said Mr Giskegjerde.
“We have found that simple issues can prevent use of digital technology,” he continued. “For example, officers still like to print out a digital report; they do not have time to transfer data from one device to another via a USB memory stick; and they are worried they may not be able to install new technology themselves.”
Another hurdle is the lack of connectivity between voyage planning, route optimisation solutions and shore-based decision makers. “This results in inefficiencies and inadequate fuel savings,” said Mr Giskegjerde.
Other challenges impacting deploying digital voyage services on bridges include losing connection at sea preventing chart or software updates, and transferring data via a USB stick risking bridge systems being infected with malware.
Mr Giskegjerde thinks an integrated approach to digital can overcome these hurdles. “We have developed ways that technologies can work together seamlessly across bridge and shore operations to create synergies,” he explained.
“We have developed ways that technologies can work together seamlessly across bridge and shore operations to create synergies”
StormGeo ensures that route planning software updates ECDIS automatically with the latest charts, and onshore teams can monitor and track optimised routes. “This has taken hassle away, created efficiencies and made the financial advantages more visible to everyone,” he said.
In November 2018, StormGeo launched its Navigator Solutions Portfolio to integrate digital navigation on the bridge. It combines weather routeing services with advanced voyage planning elements and electronic chart management.
It also delivers solutions for shoreside personnel for route optimisation, technical and performance management, voyage reporting and expert assistance.
Mr Giskegjerde said Navigator Solutions Portfolio “improves the connection of the onboard navigational planning station to continuous shore analysis, advice and decision making.” This portfolio also has inbuilt cyber security to minimise the risk of infecting operating systems.
StormGeo also introduced NaviPlanner BVS, integrated navigational planning and route optimisation software, as part of its navigation portfolio. “NaviPlanner BVS allows our customers to enter and optimise their route, obtain the appropriate charts and create a voyage plan without switching between disparate solutions,” said Mr Giskegjerde.
He expects this software will increase the amount of optimised routes that are actually sailed. “It will improve the visibility and communication between shore-based operations and vessels and consolidate systems to enhance security.”
StormGeo’s voyage planning software is installed on more than 6,000 vessels. Its available services were increased in Q3 2018 when StormGeo acquired digital maritime charts and publications supplier Nautisk. StormGeo provides routes for up to 60,000 ship voyages each year with the main routes being across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.