Fleet in service – exploit its potential, control costs: Area of adverse weather increases fuel costs

By Peter Pospiech at October 03, 2013 04:13
Filed Under: drive systems, Fuels & Lubes, General

Fuel consumption and time are an important factor when planning ship routes. But more and more also actual weather conditions are considered.

Wind and waves have a significant impact on operating costs of fleets in service. Unfavourable conditions cause higher fuel consumption, delays and often also damages on ships or cargo. Even if the vessels captain cannot change the weather he has avoidance strategies on hand to bypass the area of adverse weather or can adapt the vessels speed to reach the expected danger area before or after the bad weather phase. 

Storm and high waves increases time and fuel costs - but they can be purposefully bypassed

The magic word is “Weather Routing”. Intelligent weather-routing can remarkably reduce these additional costs with less expense. Modern weather-routing software uses weather-, waves- and disturbances information as well as vessel hydrodynamic details for ships specific routing recommendations at minimal drive power and optimized speed. In this way unfavourable weather can be bypassed as far as possible and hence significantly reduce risk of cost. Based on real-time transmissions of the actual weather data short-term route changes are possible. An actual study for a shipping company documents 80% less delays and 87% less claims for cargo damages. But there are differences: Simple software variants convert pure weather forecasts into routing recommendations. On the other hand consider decision support systems, besides the available environmental data, also vessel details and cargo conditions. Their recommendations are much more precise and therefore also routes can be included which otherwise would be considered as unsecure. 

For these very complex calculations ship owners can rely on a respective software. This software analyses regional weather forecasts as well as maritime data and produces an overall picture of the provided route.


image: PPM archive

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