The maritime industry has long grappled with the dual challenges of improving operational efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. As technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), progresses, several leading maritime companies are stepping forward to harness its potential in their voyage operations, setting new standards and expectations for the sector.
Voyage Data Gathering and Analytics
Arnaud Dianoux, Founder and CEO of Marseilles-based maritime data analytics company Opsealog, believes that data holds the key to decarbonising maritime operations for ship owners and charterers. He told Thetius, “We are confident that as long as accurate data is coming into the Opsealog Marinsight platform, we will generate efficiencies.”
Opsealog bases its offering around three core products: a digital logbook called Streamlog, which is used by hundreds of vessels worldwide and enables ship operators to digitalise and automate reporting and data collection; a platform called Marinsights which ingests data from Streamlog and other sensors and applies analytics to gain insights and understand ship performance in a more detailed way; and a consulting arm, where experts help Opsealog users to transform their data insights into action.
Dianoux points to the advent of satellite communications services as a major catalyst for positive change in data-driven decarbonisation. He said, “The maritime industry is becoming more and more connected and this is an enormous opportunity.” Dianoux believes that, “Shipowners need only ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I accurately measure my CO2 emissions?’ and, ‘Do I still use paper and spreadsheets?’ If the answers to these questions are ‘no’ and ‘yes’, then there is a tremendous opportunity for them to quantify their baseline, and speed up their transition, without doubt.”
The role of AI-powered voyage optimisation
In September 2022, Wallenius Wilhelmsen announced its intention to become the first global shipping company to adopt a fully AI-based voyage optimisation system throughout its 120+ vessel fleet. This announcement followed results from an 18-month trial of DeepSea Technologies’ performance routing software Pythia, which achieved a 6.9% improvement in vessel efficiency, predicting a 170,000 tonne reduction in emissions on a fleet-wide roll out. In an interview with gCaptain in March 2023, Wilhelmsen CEO Lasse Kristoffersen stated that climate change is the biggest challenge the company faces. As a result, he announced the establishment of a dedicated climate task force – the Orcelle Accelerator – to help speed up their transition to zero-emissions end-to-end transport services by 2027.
Kristoffersen concluded by saying, “Shipping and logistics need to be zero emission… we want to be a ‘shaper’ in the fight against climate change.”
Allied with voyage optimisation, route and cargo optimisation is also potentially impactful. At the end of the third quarter of 2022, Stena Line reported an 11% reduction in carbon intensity and a 4% absolute reduction in total ship emissions compared to pre-COVID operations by improving utilisation rates and switching to 100% renewable energy during port operations and lay time.
Carisbrooke Shipping has developed an approach to voyage optimisation which over the course of 2022 resulted in a 600-ton reduction in CO2 emissions across their 28 vessel fleet. The saving was achieved in part by using Wärtsilä’s Fleet Optimisation Solution (FOS).
Natalia Walker, Project Analyst at Carisbrooke Shipping, told Thetius that, “After extensive development with Wärtsilä, including setting base lines from flow meters and torque meters and conducting trials with other software providers, Carisbrooke formalised its fleet optimisation centre in 2021 and 2022 became our first full operational year.”
Walker continued, “We use AI-enabled software to compare baseline voyage performance data from previous years to model outcomes. Sometimes the margins are tight, especially if voyages are already close to optimised anyway and not every voyage can be improved upon.”
Data flow is a vital component: “We have built and improved models for our vessels over time, so we know which speed is optimal under defined circumstances. This is backed by high frequency data collected hourly from flow metres and other sensors onboard our ships, which is combined with daily noon reported data to keep a dynamic picture of vessel performance throughout the voyage.”
The operations centre at Carisbrooke compliments a proactive fleet renewal program: “Carisbrooke has consistently been interested in efficiency improvements and decarbonisation. Our strategy is based around operating modern vessels incorporating state of the art technical developments in ship design and construction. In our most recent new building program, we built a series of green ships which were, on average, about 34% more efficient than the market standard.”
In February 2023, Finnish maritime software and data analysis company, NAPA, partnered with ClassNK to announce the results of a joint study carried out with Marubeni Corporation which highlighted the potential of voyage optimisation for reducing emissions and improving Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) ratings for operators. The study examined a fleet of Marubeni bulk carriers, measuring the impact of voyage optimisation on greenhouse gas emissions and CII ratings.
|“From an optimisation point of view, we can run into problems with notices of readiness. For instance, the vessels maybe expected to arrive at a port at a certain time and if we don’t keep to that time slot, we may well lose our place in the queue and the cargo could arrive later than it could have done, so we have to balance out the requirements of other stakeholders. The key is to continue to communicate frequently with the agents and the charterers.”|
Natalia Walker, Project Analyst, Carisbrooke Shipping
By optimising voyage and route profiles based on user specified criteria such as maximising daily profit, reducing overall voyage costs, or adjusting arrival times, NAPA’s software demonstrated improved safety and efficiency for its users. The Marubeni research concluded that the NAPA suite reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 7.3%. The software also improved CII ratings by an average of 5-6%, extending compliance for an additional two to three years in most cases.
The transformative power of AI and data analytics is evident in the maritime sector, with companies like Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Stena Line, Carisbrooke Shipping, and Marubeni pioneering innovative approaches. As these organisations embrace and integrate advanced technologies into their operations, they’re not just enhancing efficiency but are also significantly contributing to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions. Their initiatives signal a promising direction for the maritime world, showing a united front towards a sustainable future.