Leading marine consultants XShip Design and Analytics will integrate real-time weather data from IBM with its XShip performance platform to boost vessel management and performance.

Global players such as Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and MTM will reap the benefits, said Himanshu Goyal, Sales and Alliances Leader, The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

Data, main driver

“Data-driven energy management is the present and the future of vessel performance management,” Goyal told BusinessLine . “For an industry where fuel costs represent as much as 50- to 60 per cent of the total costs, any initiative to save fuel makes a lot of sense,” he added.

Marine transport heavily depends on weather for efficient planning of a voyage. Accurate weather forecasts combined with technical innovation to predict how the weather can affect the vessel’s performance are important information in this aspect.

The Weather Company claims to be the world’s largest private weather enterprise offering accurate, personalised and actionable weather data and insights to consumers and businesses.

Sandith Thandasherry, Chief Naval Architect and CEO, XShip, said that his company uses its core technology and expertise to help save fuel through data-driven energy management.

Massive savings

It manages 250 vessels and logs in an average consumption of 25 tonnes a day, committing $781 million annually. An estimated that $4.3 million could be saved optimising the chartering process.

Additionally, harnessing weather forecasts for route optimisation could lead to savings of up to three per cent. This would amount to extra savings of $6 million.

The XShip performance platform comprises of modules which will be upgraded and integrated with IBM weather data and new advanced add-ons introduced. “Route optimisation application based on accurate weather data is under trial. We may release it soon,” said Syam Krishnan, Head of Vessel Performance Research, XShip.

Fuel consumption is a function of the ship speed, cargo carried and environmental conditions, he said. XShip has a proprietary algorithm which can calculate fuel consumption for a combination of any of the above factors with accuracy rate of 90- to to 95 per cent.

Route optimisation is a major savings determinant and is based on weather forecasts. Using accurate marine weather forecasts will suggest optimal routes with comparably low fuel consumption. “Here, estimated time of arrival is met even if the distance travelled is high. Route optimisation does not just avoid bad weather, but helps with selection of the best possible route. This can be done with a combination of accurate weather prediction and suitable consumption models,” adds Krishnan.