Four ways the right marine weather API can set you on a course for success

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) expects growth in the maritime industry to expand by 4.8% in 2021, but this will only happen if it fully embraces a digital transformation.

Thankfully, cloud computing advancements make it easier than ever to integrate external data into your in-house systems and applications. In return, you’ll gain access to more features and configuration options, opening up new growth opportunities. It also supports complete situational analysis and integrates different data sources into your decision-making processes. Connecting third-party applications to your internal systems allows information to be exchanged from one system to another, providing you with expanded features, data, and configuration options when you use your internal tools.


Why should you use a proven marine weather API?

Effectively monitoring and managing the weather is one of the biggest challenges for shipping and offshore organizations, made even more difficult by its dynamic nature.

Maritime companies that use real-time weather data can better optimize routes, analyze operations, improve efficiencies, and even unlock competitive advantages. This level of performance is made possible by seamlessly integrating the data through a proven marine weather API.

An API can simplify hardware and software requirements as your business grows, enhance your existing systems, and help you build new applications and products. It also allows you to easily incorporate resources and expertise that you may not have in-house.

The result? Greater situational analysis and better decision making.


Four benefits of marine weather data

To remain successful despite increased commercial pressures, maritime companies must address their challenges and meet their goals. Here are four ways a weather API helps.

1. Improve vessel performance
Weather impacts around 80% of vessel performance calculations. Errors can significantly change a vessel’s ETA, causing potential delays and increased operating costs.

Every ship has a unique performance signature. Its size, types of cargo, engine type, propeller characteristics, etc., affect how it responds to weather conditions. Knowing a ship’s traits allows you to calculate its vulnerability and how conditions will affect its fuel efficiency.

An API can bring together multiple data points to help evaluate individual vessel performance in different weather conditions.

2. Ensure the safety of people (and cargo)
Severe weather conditions often develop quickly and can be life-threatening. They can also disrupt planned routes and delay voyages.

Early awareness is key to protecting those onboard and preventing costly damage. With the right data, you can route vessels away from dangerous conditions.

Additionally, the recent English court ruling in Alianca Navegacao e Logistica Ltda v Ameropa SA (The Santa Isabella) case provided fresh guidance on owner responsibilities to ventilate and care for cargo. The ruling set a precedent where “owners must show that they have a sound system for cargo care in place, including ventilation and disinfection where necessary.”

3. Reduce unplanned downtime
Every vessel has a weather-related safety threshold. For instance, a workboat with a two-meter wave threshold must stop work when conditions exceed those limits.

Offshore companies typically use metocean data combined with vessel requirements to plan project timelines — however miscalculating weather risks can disrupt project efficiencies and reduce profit margins.

For instance, if a 20% downtime is forecast on a 30-day project, but conditions result in 30% downtime, the project will inevitably overrun.

By using proven weather data, offshore companies can rely on a single source of truth to assess conditions with greater confidence.

4. Avoid scheduling changes
Offshore projects are typically broken into chunks of work based on the time needed to complete it.

The impact of getting this wrong can be huge. If you miss your best weather window, it may take weeks for conditions to settle again, resulting in expensive unplanned downtime.

For example, if 72 hours are required to get a job done, there needs to be an appropriate weather window to accommodate it. With accurate weather data, you can find the right time for the work to begin, without compromising safety.

It’s a turbulent time for the world right now, but the potential benefits of integrating weather data are already helping many solve many of the industry’s biggest and most common challenges.