Bad planning, early arrivals and the subsequent time spent waiting in congested ports, mean that the industry is unnecessarily burning bunker fuel. This, Argyris estimates, is totaling US$18 billion annually, resulting in the emission of 160 million tons of CO2.
Waiting time usually occurs when chartered ships sail according to a time of arrival and set speeds to match. However, a charterer and a shipowner agreeing on a time of arrival does not necessarily mean that a given port is ready to take in the vessel at that time.
“Instead of sailing at a specific pre-defined speed aiming to reach port at pre-agreed ETA, the vessel could have slowed down in order to optimize the time of arrival so as to arrive just in time and enter port without waiting at anchorage,” Argyris tells ShippingWatch.
To address such scenarios, MarineTraffic is a strong advocate for the Just-In-Time (JIT) concept. In addition to saving large sums in fuel costs, if a ship communicates relevant information in advance before arriving in port, research suggests that it can achieve a reduction of 23% in its emissions.
To support the reduction in waiting times, MarineTraffic offers subscribers a port congestion tool. The tool covers every major global port and can be used to: ensure more efficient planning and scheduling by ship operators, write clauses and pricing for charter party agreements, making comparisons between ports, and driving port operators themselves to enhance their operations.
Need for standardisation
Argyris notes that the benefits of the Just-In-Time concept cannot currently be fully fulfilled because the sharing of information and data is still limited. This is due to stakeholders looking to protect their own data and interests. One outcome of this which he highlights is that there are no fixed standards for how to describe the timeline of a vessel’s voyage.
MarineTraffic is working hard to change this through its membership of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Global Industry Alliance (GIA). The GIA is a group of the world’s leading shipping companies and port terminals who are committed to overcoming the contractual and operational barriers disabling Just-In-Time operations from being implemented.
Highlighting some of the successes container shipping has had, with projects such as the establishment of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), as well as the development of blockchain platform TradeLens, by Maersk and IBM, Argyris believes that broader developments in the industry give him confidence that the challenges can be overcome. He concludes that at present, it is a chicken and egg scenario, in terms of who is going to make the first major step, but he is hopeful that in a few years the industry will have the first generation of information tools to operate in a much more efficient way.