For every voyage, a shipping company must strategically balance safety, efficiency, fuel consumption, ETAs, and seakeeping to optimize vessel performance and keep costs in line. Even incremental differences in one of these areas can amount to significant changes to the bottom line. Comparing the estimated outputs to how the variables performed is valuable information. Being able to monitor the outputs in real time and adjust accordingly is a competitive advantage. That is why optimizing vessel performance requires Operational Intelligence.
What is Operational Intelligence?
Operational Intelligence delivers real-time data and analytics to improve situational awareness and support critical business decisions in changing conditions. It is different than Business Intelligence, which offers a combination of historical and recent data with trend analysis to help identify opportunities and benchmark key performance indicators. Both depend on automated data-gathering and sophisticated data-modeling techniques, but only Operational Intelligence supports decisions and actions grounded in real-time information as it is gathered or generated.
Operational Intelligence delivers real-time data and analytics to improve situational awareness and support critical business decisions in changing conditions.
Consider the benefit of real-time analytics to help prevent severe or parametric rolling of vessels at sea due to a combination of the timing of waves passing through the vessel and the ship’s natural roll parameter. It can cause cargo damage, loss of cargo, and, in extreme cases, capsize the ship. Knowing the weather conditions along the route, as well as wave direction and height is critical information. Operational Intelligence brings greater insights — at the moment they are needed — by integrating further critical data, including the energy and timing of waves and vessel characteristics, to aid in vital seakeeping decisions when confronting choppy seas. The ability to identify, understand, and take advantage of an opportunity or take corrective action in real time is at the heart of Operational Intelligence.
Other ways Operational Intelligence can optimize vessel performance:
Efficiently benchmarks performance
Performance benchmarking is essential for improved vessel operations. The process provides insights into the ship’s “as-built” performance characteristics compared to actual performance and if retrofits are necessary to enhance energy efficiency. Vessel performance analysis includes numerous data streams, including fuel consumption and efficiency to voyage timings, engine performance, speeds, weather conditions, trim and stability information, propulsion data, hull, propeller conditions, and greenhouse emissions.
Each of these data streams can generate thousands of data points at one point in time, making the insights overwhelming and the critical information potentially muted. Operational Intelligence helps cut through the data clutter by surfacing relevant information and creating clarity from complexity to help shipping operators make more confident decisions around vessel performance.
In an ideal world, vessels would simply route around adverse weather — but that usually requires more time and fuel, which is not ideal for reducing costs or environmental impacts. Weather-optimized routing is point-to-point route planning focused the impacts of multiple variables on vessel performance while accounting for voyage safety.
Operational Intelligence helps cut through the data clutter by surfacing relevant information and creating clarity from complexity.
Vessel routing models current weather forecasts with ship characteristics, cargo type and requirements, local restrictions on the route, and the ship operator’s efficiency goals. Combined, this dynamic data and insights deliver Operational Intelligence that can inform the operator before and during every nautical mile of the voyage. Every day, the route is recalculated based on the latest weather data. Recalculation is essential, as even small changes in conditions can impact the route.
This approach can result in route changes for the vessel operator to change speed and allow the weather to pass. Each recommendation depends on what is safe while considering voyage time and fuel consumption.
Streamlines vessel reporting
Over the past decade, the shipping industry has experienced significant change to meet new International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations, including Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) regulations in 2022. A further addition to the CII regulations is an operational clause for time charter parties that states:
- The charterer needs a way to validate the delivery attained CII and consumption and distance provided by the owner upon delivery.
- Both the owner and charterer need to continuously monitor C/P attained CII.
- Both parties must also estimate the impact of operational decisions, like reducing speed, on the CII rating.
Dynamic data and insights deliver Operational Intelligence that can inform the operator before and during every nautical mile of the voyage.
Manually generated reports alone cannot provide the level of comprehensive data, collection, and reporting required by these regulatory changes. Advanced data science modeling, like digital twin technology, can enable the operator to see vessel efficiency for a specific type of vessel, route, and weather impact even before the voyage begins. Constantly accessing Operational Intelligence delivered by combining multiple data streams, such as AIS tracks, hindcast weather, performance speed, and engine performance, a ship operator can monitor real-time outputs to adjust or stay on track to meet CII.
With integrated data streams that constantly monitor and generate reports for multiple shipping stakeholders, Operational Intelligence supports a holistic representation of reliable information for all stakeholders along the shipping value chain.
The right data for the right decisions
Today, Operational Intelligence in the shipping sector is essential, not just for operational decisions but also to help address narrowing margins, increasing weather risk, and expanding margins environmental regulations.
While every voyage is different in that shipping companies must account for variables like location, vessel type, seasonality, weather, voyage duration, and fuel consumption — the goal to maximize vessel performance remains the same.
Data alone doesn’t optimize vessel performance but leveraging the right data sources to deliver Operational Intelligence at the time for informed, strategic decisions does.
Learn how you can access Operational Insights through DTN Marine Content Services.