A group of maritime industry stakeholders has announced plans to work together on eliminating ‘Sail Fast, then Wait’ (SFTW) practices in the shipping industry, using digital technologies to better manage port arrival schedules.
The consortium includes representatives from shipping, government, classification societies, consultancies, financing, and environmental organisations, namely: Anglo-American, Carbon Trust, ClassNK, CMB, Drewry, NAPA, Ocean Conservancy, Lloyd’s, Stephenson Harwood, Tankers International, the UK Hydrographic Office, the University of Manchester, and Vertis.
NAPA will act as technology provider and project coordinator alongside Stephenson Harwood. NAPA’s voyage management software expertise will be used to underpin the new Blue Visby system, to help optimise and stagger arrival times for groups of vessels traveling to the same port.
Taking into consideration parameters such as the performance and characteristics of each vessel, port congestion at destination, and weather conditions, the Blue Visby algorithm provides an optimal target arrival time for each vessel, while maintaining their order of arrival as if they had sailed independently without intervention.
The consortium says that this will enable vessels to slow down, cutting their fuel consumption and emissions, but still “keep their place in the queue” and arrive one after the other, therefore reducing unnecessary waiting times outside ports.
The Blue Visby system also includes a contractual framework to address the problem of ‘split incentives’, introducing a sharing mechanism that enables stakeholders on each voyage (shipowners, charterers and cargo interests) to share the costs and benefits of the implementation of the technology, including fuel savings, the costs of a lengthier journey, and the financial value of emissions reductions where applicable.
This contractual architecture is designed to be compatible with the standard terms of maritime contracts and does not require any new legislation or regulations, the consortium says.
Based on analysis of 2019 shipping data from 150,000 voyages by 13,000 cargo ships in the 150 most visited ports, NAPA estimates that the Blue Visby software will enable vessels to reduce their speed by about 1 knot on average. Speed could have been reduced on 87% of the voyages assessed, leading to shorter idle times and an average emissions savings potential of 16%.
“Blue Visby complements voyage planning and weather routing software by providing a target arrival time and enables users to optimise routes and speed to save fuel without worrying about losing a competitive advantage. And the best part of it is that all this can be done now and with very small upfront investment, as Blue Visby requires no additional on-board systems,” said Pekka Pakkanen, Executive Vice President at NAPA Shipping Solutions.