In this 8-part series, we have covered an array of topics relating to ‘digital decarbonisation’, or how the maritime sector can harness digital technologies that are available today to achieve the goals set for their tomorrow. If there is still doubt in the minds of operators as to the importance of a digital decarbonisation strategy, in this final part of our special series on digital decarbonisation, we take a closer look at examples of successful decarbonisation projects.
We have seen how changes to the way charter party agreements are standardised is open up new opportunities for shipping to use digital tools to optimise voyage efficiency and reduce wasted energy. We have seen how ship finance is moving rapidly towards favouring greener fleets, and how market-based measures contribute to decarbonising shipping despite the scale of the challenge. We have looked at ways that operators can measure their own performance with digital technologies and how this can inform a more harmonised global system of trade and in our last two editions, we unpacked voyage optimisation and explained the concept of ‘digital onshoring’, bringing the supply chain closer together using digital connectivity.
Shipping lines that act decisively on digitalisation and decarbonisation will move ahead; and those that don’t will be frozen out of preferential finance rates, valuable green incentive schemes, and business from the most lucrative charterers and cargo owners. Carriers that don’t step up their efforts now to invest in digital decarbonisation technology and embrace innovation, could find themselves redundant in the rapidly evolving ocean freight markets.
Here are three case studies that some of the successful digital decarbonisation projects underway:
Yxney Maritime is the software company behind Maress – a fleet performance optimization platform. Maress helps operators decarbonise their ship fleets by combining operational data sets from across their user’s field of operations to produce insight on how to reduce fuel and emissions. By establishing baseline performance levels, decarbonising efforts can be visualised and assessed for effectiveness.
One of Yxney’s clients, Solstad offshore, has been attempting to reduce their fleet emissions since 2009 when they announced their program ‘Solstad Green Operations’.
Partnering with Yxney to deploy Maress has resulted in an 18% fuel saving across their 147 vessel fleet. In addition, Solstad say their total operational footprint was reduced by almost 20,000 tons of C02 in 2018. Speaking of the partnership, Solstad Environmental Engineer Svein Erik Isaksen said, “We needed a solution that performs effective energy management, without scaling up the administrative staff offshore. The solution has been to use Maress to change the way we communicate and to ensure that crews and support staff are pulling in the same direction.”
Partnering with Yxney to deploy Maress has resulted in an 18% fuel saving across Solstad Offshore’s 147 vessel fleet
Capturing and distributing real-time operational data has also resulted in impressive results for Siem Offshore. They coupled Maress with ship performance monitoring hardware from Høglund to display real-time fuel consumption and efficiency data onboard its vessels. The technology has brought about swift cultural change in the company. Siem Operations Manager Jon August Houge said, “It has triggered competition among the vessels. Each crew wants to be best in class when it comes to fuel efficiency. With real time input from sensors aboard the ship and theoretical calculation of fuel flow, the crews are able to optimise the operation of engines and power consumers.” Results from a 30-day campaign in 2020 showed that the Siem fleet were able to save 442 tons of Marine Diesel Oil (MDO) and 231 tons of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), achieve a 20.7% increase in efficiency, and prevent 30,870 kg of Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) and 2,130 tons of CO2 emissions, saving US $344,733 in the process.
According to Yxney, Maress-equipped vessels saved a combined 50,000 tons of CO2 in 2020. Yxney’s cloud based software is beginning to gain momentum in the offshore services sector, with Equinor, DOF, Skansi Offshore, Tidewater, Eidesvik, and Aker BP all rolling out Maress across their fleets. Speaking of their success, Yxney CEO Simen Sanna commented, “The energy transition has started. All stakeholders in the maritime industry are now looking for efficient ways of collaborating to meet 2030 and 2050 emissions targets.”
PortXChange was established in 2019 after spinning out of the Port of Rotterdam. The company offers three principal products – a port call optimization platform called Synchronizer, a fleet intelligence module called Shiptracker, and a pilot scheduling system called PilotTracker.
Synchronizer enables shipping companies, agents, terminals, and other service providers with a shared platform that they can use to visualise everything connected with a port call, integrating multiple information sources to provide a single overview of operations. The platform is able to accept inbound information in a variety of formats, from Application Programming Interface (API) or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messages, to spreadsheet data, email information, and even website data scrapes. PortXchange also provides users with an outbound API that allows platform data to be integrated into proprietary systems. This is central to the company’s ethos of democratising port call data for the good of all stakeholders involved in port operations.
PortXChange does not handle cargo specific information, but applies artificial intelligence to forecast future timings based on measured performance. As their experience has grown, PortXchange has encouraged their prospective clients to bring in a business consultant when scoping and procuring digital platform solutions. The reason, they say, is that platforms like PortXChange offer more than just a tool. They challenge the very concept of port operations, and perform best when they are central to a more transformative process of change at the strategic, operational, and human level.
PortXChange was able to demonstrate a 32% decrease in idle time on average
Speaking on the topic in 2021, then Director of Operations, Dita Bruijin said, “It is vital that the digital platform matches the local reality at the port. It is important not to implement transformative technologies without also working with the port team to ensure there is alignment between the enhanced capabilities the platform delivers and what is being acted upon by port staff and operators.” Synchronizer is now used by five major ports across the globe; Rotterdam, Mordijk, Felixstowe, Houston, and Algeciras. The first stage of onboarding involves detailed process mapping. The port’s existing modes of operation are examined to fully understand where PortXchange can add the most value and ensure that there is sufficient scope for transformation within the operations teams.
Early trials of the Synchronizer platform at APM Terminals Rotterdam resulted in significant reductions in idle time prior to departure for Maersk container ships. Among 177 vessels measured, the average dwell time between the conclusion of cargo operations and the vessel departing the berth was 47 minutes. During this time, vessels will generally be ready for sea with their main engines idling. This has obvious environmental impacts and also delays inbound vessels, generally contributing to port congestion and a rise in unnecessary GHG emissions. By increasing the amount of data shared among the different stakeholders involved in departing the vessel, PortXChange was able to demonstrate a 32% decrease in idle time on average. APM terminals claim to handle an average of 250 port calls per day at locations worldwide. If similar savings could be achieved across the board, Synchronizer could save in excess of 22,000 hours of idle time per year for APM terminals alone. PortXChange was able to demonstrate a 32% decrease in idle time on average.
Similar to Yxney, Nautilus Labs is a certified application provider for Inmarsat’s IoT fleet data platform. The company builds software for ship owners and operators that informs decision making and visualises opportunities to improve vessel operations. Their strapline says they are ‘Advancing the efficiency of ocean commerce through artificial intelligence’, a claim that Nautilus can back up with numbers.
They offer voyage and power optimisation tools that use weather modelling and machine learning processes with vessel specific data. This allows them to provide optimal shaft speed and optimal shaft power instructions. The company claims that, ‘Nautilus optimised voyages see 5-7% of net profit increases and C02 savings of over 400 metric tonnes in one years operation’. The Nautilus solution claims to result in a 4-6% reduction in fuel consumption and 350 metric tonnes of C02 per vessel, per year on average.
Their software is already used by several operators including Nordic Bulk, Teekay, Dorian LPG, TotalEnergies, and Eagle Bulk Shipping putting hundreds of vessels on to the platform.
The principle of their approach is granular data gathering and analysis. By aggregating data from many different sensors, a dynamic picture of vessel performance is calculated, making assumptions about fuel consumption, routing, speed, and hull form obsolete.
In an interview with Shipping Watch in March 2022, Nautilus Labs’ CEO Matt Heider explained, “There are opportunities that emerge over the course of long voyages to be dynamic and make adjustments, which can result in a substantial amount of CO2 reductions and fuel savings if you capitalize on them.”
The Nautilus platform manifested a 30.5 MT fuel saving and 4% uplift in time charter equivalent (TCE) earnings (a measure of profitability) throughout the voyage. 95 MT of CO2 emission was avoided – the equivalent of taking 21 average family cars off the road for an entire year
One of Nautilus’ more recent customers, Emirates Shipping Line, brought in Nautilus Labs’ voyage optimisation in collaboration with the fleet owner Peter Döhle to improve collaboration and transparency across the charterparty and leverage more sophisticated data collection across the fleet. The system analyses a large number of data points to quantify vessel performance and make predictions that support planning and bridge decision making. The company claims that, ‘Nautilus optimised voyages see 5-7% of net profit increases and C02 savings of over 400 metric tonnes in one years operation’.
Masters across the fleet have access to a Nautilus Labs dashboard, enabling them to see their vessel’s dynamic performance profile, empowering them to make adjustments that result in efficiency gains and increased profitability for the line. Johann Diercks, Director of Shipmanagement at Peter Döhle, said, “Nautilus Platform supports us and our crews to meet the requirements of our customers to operate their vessels as cost and fuel efficient as possible and to reduce the emissions of our operated fleet.”
Another adopter of Nautilus software is Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS). Their 150-strong fleet consists of a mix of tankers, bulk carriers, gas carriers, containerships, and pure car and truck carriers. EPS began their relationship with Nautilus in 2019, equipping six vessels, which has since been extended to the wider fleet. To illustrate the potential, Nautilus data was used by the bridge team on a tanker voyage from Scotland to Nigeria and onwards to Indonesia. Despite the ship needing to stop in South Africa for a medical emergency, the dynamic data feeds of the Nautilus platform manifested a 30.5 MT fuel saving and 4% uplift in time charter equivalent (TCE) earnings (a measure of profitability) throughout the voyage. 95 MT of CO2 emission was avoided – the equivalent of taking 21 average family cars off the road for an entire year.
In March 2022, Nautilus Labs announced the successful closure of a sizable Series B funding round, securing a US $34m investment from Microsoft’s M12 venture capital fund. With it, the company plans on developing new digital decarbonisation tools aimed at helping their clients find efficiency gains and reductions in GHG emissions. They also plan on opening a number of satellite offices at major hub ports around the world in addition to its four existing offices in New York, Singapore, Paris, and London, potentially in Copenhagen and Athens.
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DIGITAL DECARBONISATION SERIES
In partnership with Inmarsat, Thetius launched a major report on digital decarbonisation at the Nor-Shipping conference in April 2022 to critical acclaim. Read by thousands of industry professionals across the globe, The Optimal Route examines the impact of digital technologies on the trajectory of decarbonisation in shipping.
Based on the findings of this research, we have put together a new series of articles on digital decarbonisation which will be released to our subscribers over the coming weeks. Each article will zoom in on an aspect of digital decarbonisation and together will provide a jam-packed analysis that includes the latest and greatest examples of how digital technologies can prove the difference between success and failure in decarbonising the ocean supply chain.
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