Optimising dispatching with AI-based OptiPort

Optimising dispatching with AI-based OptiPort

The OptiPort dispatch solution is using artificial intelligence (AI) to support and optimise dispatch and planning operations to reduce costs, cut down on fuel consumption and lower emissions.

The cloud-based application is a planning solution for nautical service providers that optimises the dispatch schedule of harbour tugs, pilot vessels, launches, etc. in real time, 24/7. OptiPort connects several live data sources that affect scheduling to provide the most optimal sailing schedule for the right assets.

When applied on tugs, OptiPort works by forecasting the number of tugs required for a job and the duration of (de)mobilisation and jobs. The application determines pickup and drop-off locations, gives a dynamic start time of incoming jobs, and helps to reduce vessel delays.

In addition, OptiPort provides:

– Fully automated job start/stop identification

– Push notifications on speed, departure and arrival times- Full incorporation of crew changes and labour rules

– Functionalities which allow for priority towage

– Tracking and virtual planning of competitors

– Full integration of tidal effects in the schedule

The application relies on a vessel’s AIS transmitters and the availability of data. This data, together with the mathematical models and job-related information, specific Port and Business rules, arrival and departure information from the Port Management system, fuel consumption of the assets, etc., helps to improve scheduling. Adding tidal information, wind and other relevant data sources can also further improve the quality of the planning schedules.

OptiPort enables remote dispatching or dispatching with a smaller than normal team. OptiPort provides the ultimate decision support tool to the dispatchers, ensuring that in challenging and unpredictable situations, they make the right decisions.

A large container ship being manoeuvred and reversed towards shore by pilots and tugboats.

Cost savings

OptiPort has proven operational cost savings of between 25-40 per cent due to smarter planning. When also using alongside the speed tracker, which provides speed advice, savings of 55 per cent can be achieved by looking at the (de)mobilisation of tugs to their jobs.

Artificial intelligence

OptiPort is the first maritime dispatch tool that uses AI to improve value of an existing fleet. It is fully data driven and does not require the installation of any additional hardware.

The benefits of AI-powered dispatching include:

– Improved use of the tug fleet

– Assurance of the correct tug for the job

– Smarter planning for reduced fuel consumption

– Reduction of harmful emissions

– Reduction of delayed vessels

– Reduction of loss generating charters

– Uniform way of best practice dispatching

– Supporting decision making for planners

– Support to centralise multiple port dispatching at one location

– Tracking and planning of the competition

– Supporting business continuity

– Reduced crew overtime


In 2019, a cooperation agreement with Helm Operations was signed. Under this agreement, it is possible to use the OptiPort software suite as an integrated solution within Helm CONNECT’S industry platform.

Trialling OptiPort

The team behind OptiPort aims to ensure close contact with its clients. Functional changes, requests or improvements of the software can be submitted to the team with the aim to accommodate the requests in a short time-frame.

A customer will typically start out trialling OptiPort on a pilot project. This takes around two months to configure and two to three months of use, in which the user can determine the value of OptiPort in their day-to-day operations.

The dispatch optimisation projects are developed, configured and implemented on a turnkey basis, from the initial pilot project to the final subscription.

Read more about OptiPort here www.optiportonline.com