Data and collaboration are key when it comes to optimising the ship-port interface
That’s according to industry experts from the Global Industry Alliance, who took part recently in the MarineTraffic webinar. The alliance is a public-private partnership led by the IMO designed to kickstart a low-carbon shipping industry.
Minimising greenhouse gas emissions has become an increasingly important topic.
The IMO has already made it clear that they mean business.
The general public, meanwhile, are more aware than ever about the impact of CO2 emissions and dirty fuels.
One solution to reducing emissions is a ‘just-in-time‘ port-call process. Less time waiting at anchorage – or racing to meet a slot -means less fuel is burned.
An International Taskforce on Port Call Optimisation has been in place for the last six years, but there’s still plenty of progress that needs to take place.
The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) Secretary General Martin Dorsman hinted back in February that there was no obvious silver bullet.
“The complete logistical chain in the port, from ships to nautical service suppliers to terminals and transport modes work together and exchange data on their operations,” he said.
One of our guest speakers, Andreas Van der Wurff, explained that what should be a straightforward process is not always clear cut.
“Realising a safe berth navigation can only be achieved by answering the following easy questions,” said the Port Optimisation Manager from Maersk.
“Does my ship fit and where is my berth?
“Believe it or not, in a lot of situations you don’t even know where your berth is.
“Also when is my berth available – and that additionally means when do the nautical services arrive.
“And can I approach the berth safely? Do I have a safe passage?
If this information is not available, we are sub-optimising the port call.
The global economy is increasingly data driven – and not just in shipping.
Van der Wurff claimed communication between stakeholders is key when it comes to improving efficiency.
“Being able to answer the questions is the first stage in port optimisation through data sharing,” he added.
“However, the data sharing requires collaboration with all the actors in the port industry.
“To ensure we have industry-wide adoption of standards, you need to have standardised master and event data in order to connect machine to machine and human to human.
“In the maritime domain, these are maintained by the IHO. They ensure that data quality for safe-berth passage.
“Work is in progress to ensure further data standards are adopted by the industry.”
Astrid Dispert, Project Technical Manager on the IMO-Norway GreenVoyage 2050 Project, echoed Van der Wurff’s comments and suggested the current status quo must change.
“We are seeing is how we can help the sector from moving to what is essentially a hurry up and wait situation where ships go at, say, a higher speed than needed into the port area to figure out that berths and space are not available,” she said.
“What we want is to help the sector into just in time arrivals, where the ship receives data and information in a frequent and standardised manner.
“This is to enable an optimised speed on the voyage to arrive into the port as berths and other services become available.
This requires collaboration between shipping, port authorities, terminals and other service providers.
With organisations struggling to maintain profit margins more than ever before, secrecy surrounding potentially sensitive commercial information could become a barrier to progress.
Argyris Stasinakis believes compliance will always be a long-term issue.
However, the Executive Partner at MarineTraffic says his business already has the ability to help shipowners and port authorities.
“An application handling data will need to take care of properly managing who the data is available too and what are the rules on sharing,” he said.
“It’s ultimately about winning the trust of stakeholders who are contributing data.
“It’s easy to say: ‘put up a port data hub and share information’, but at the same time some of that information will be deemed mission-critical.
“People are mindful about who they want to share that information with. I’d consider that to be a bit of a barrier.
“But at MarineTraffic, we’re from the AIS side. That’s considered essentially open in term of origin as it’s captured as omitted from the ships.
“The work relates to turning the basic AIS information into a timeline. We capture all sorts of information about ships going into berth and leaving.
“There’s already lots of statistics and information that can be used for forecasting purposes.”