Maersk Tankers’ software spin-off moves ahead with commercial application launch

Maersk Tankers’ software spin-off company, first announced in January 2020, has been officially christened ZeroNorth and is moving ahead with the commercial launch of its Optimise application.

Optimise, previously known as the Maersk Tankers’ system SimBunker, can be used by vessel owners and operators to reduce bunker consumption by determining the optimal speed of each vessel.

The specific calculation is performed by analysing multiple data points, such as market rates, bunker prices, weather and individual vessel performance, with the aim of providing the twin benefits of reducing CO2 emissions and increasing earnings.

“The tramp shipping industry is bound to be reshaped and become more sustainable – and ZeroNorth is being established with exactly this aim in mind. As an independent company, it will be able to accelerate its strategy of using digitalisation to reduce CO2 emissions to the benefit of the industry as a whole,” said Christian Ingerslev, Chairman of the Board at ZeroNorth and CEO at Maersk Tankers.

ZeroNorth currently has six customers and more than 300 vessels using Optimise. The company believes the potential exists to become an industry-wide platform for the global tanker and dry bulk fleet, which consists of more than 33,000 vessels

Optimise has been used by Maersk Tankers’ fleet since June 2019. In the first year of its use, it generated savings of US$8 million, the company says.

“Slashing CO2 emissions at the same time as making a positive impact on the bottom line is key to the industry’s future prosperity,” said Søren Meyer, CEO of ZeroNorth.

“We are going to market with a profound understanding of owners and operators’ needs, stemming from our 90 years of shipping heritage, which we are combining with the expertise of a technology start-up. If the global fleet adopts our software, we see the potential to cut 50 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions and increase the industry’s revenue by US$12 billion over the next five years.”

ZeroNorth employs 38 people with backgrounds in mathematical modelling, software engineering, data science, data engineering and shipping, and is looking to increase its headcount to 100 in the next few years as it ramps up its software development activities.

Maersk Tankers currently owns 100% of ZeroNorth, but it is looking to attract strategic investors from the tramp shipping industry to develop the company and its products.

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Rob O'Dwyer

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