Interview: StormGeo launches vessel and voyage optimisation suite

Interview: StormGeo launches vessel and voyage optimisation suite

Norwegian weather service provider StormGeo has launched s-Suite, an all-in-one platform to optimise time, fuel, and vessel performance. Ahead of the launch, we spoke with Kim Sørensen, StormGeo’s chief operating officer for Shipping to gain insight into how the suite will facilitate better vessel performance and enhance ship-to-shore cooperation.

The new platform, known as s-Suite, is an integrated and optimised suite of solutions that provides ship and shore personnel with a common operational platform to optimise fuel efficiency, time management, and overall ship performance. The new suite offers three separate tools, which are currently available as individual modules – s-Planner for voyage planning and navigation; s-Insight for fleet performance management; and s-Routing for optimised route planning. Bringing these solutions together under a single integrated platform offers both ship and shore staff real-time access to one set of common data, 24/7/365, facilitating cooperation and faster decision-making.

Customers have the option to purchase the complete suite of solutions, eliminating the need to obtain different solutions from multiple vendors. “Normally if you want all of these services you have to purchase them from different vendors and then you’re sitting with multiple data sets. This means you will not fully optimise your costings,” Mr Sørensen explained. “You’re more focussed on discussing if the data is right rather that working out what it means and what to do with it.” With the new suite, the purpose is to provide a single data set that is shared between ship and shore personnel, simplifying the data and analysis that needs to be done to understand and improve ship performance.

StormGeo is also offering the modules for individual purchase, which can be bought and easily integrated with existing solutions. For example, a shipping company using StormGeo’s routing service can buy into the other products on the same platform. StormGeo routes 65,000 voyages annually, helping shipping companies to save nearly 1 million MT of fuel and 3 million MT CO2. The suite reportedly makes it simple for firms to pick and choose the modules they require at the time of purchase and to integrate further modules when the time is right. “This integration allows customers to take a modular approach if they want to buy a certain part, or if they choose to purchase the entire suite, they can now sit on a single platform,” Mr Sørensen explained to Digital Ship. In addition, customers operating with other solutions can easily integrate StormGeo’s modules into their portfolio.

According to Mr Sørensen, the launch of the suite is the result of an increased demand for shipping’s digitalisation, coupled with ambitions to operate more sustainably and reduce impact on climate change. “We had to think about new ways of offering multiple advanced digital technologies under one complete package. After having very intense discussions with the industry and seeing ambitions to digitalise and enhance processes, we developed the suite to help meet these demands.”

The s-Suite is supported by maritime experts in route advisory and fleet performance management based in StormGeo’s Fleet Performance Centres in Hamburg and Singapore. According to Mr Sørensen, clients benefit from tailor made real-time advice, data accuracy and in-depth analysis on operational factors such as fuel performance, and can access route advisory services to avoid heavy winds or bad weather that are likely to exacerbate fuel consumption and voyage time. The suite follows a proactive rather than reactive approach to voyage optimisation by facilitating fast decision-making.

Ship-to-shore cooperation

One of the most important elements of the s-Suite is the cooperation it facilitates between ship and shore. Mr Sørensen explained that by providing ship and shore staff access to the same data set, greater engagement and discussion around ship performance is achieved.

Explaining further, Mr Sørensen said: “You could argue that previously the ship was a little bit like an island and was taken away from the decision-making, or at least not integrated into the decision-making process with the shore-based personnel. With the suite, the ship will sit with the same data as the shore and benefit from the ability to be involved in the decision making.”

For crew, the shared access to data and information provides greater decision-making opportunities. “Previously crew might have had to make standalone decisions based on the data they had, or maybe even they had little decision-making capability as they may not have had access to the data at all. The shared data access means that crew will be able to comment on whether a ship should speed up or slow down to optimise its voyage.” In addition, Mr Sørensen confirmed that crew will benefit from support from shore-based staff, allowing them to play a more integrated role in the decision-making process.

Furthermore, the common operational platform aims to help commercial and technical departments collaborate on decision-making. “Often the commercial party will have one interest and the technical will have another and separate decision making doesn’t work so well. With the shared platform, both can see the same data and they can make a decision together for the overall good of the company,” Mr Sørensen explained.

“What I see now is much more collaborative approach where they can sit together and discuss the best opportunities. Now there are not so many different islands, instead we are building bridges in-between to much better coordinate the decision-making.

“There is a lot of time, money and emissions to be saved in the shipping industry but doing this in a more collaborative way has a tangible operational savings with reductions in emissions as a result.”

Pilot installation

Prior to launch of the suite, Mr Sørensen confirmed that pilot tests have been carried out with several shipping companies including Hartmann Schiffahrts.

Captain Christian Stefes, head of Dry Cargo at Hartmann Schiffahrts, said: “We constantly seek to reduce costs and emissions, and we needed more than software. It is imperative that our shore-based operators connect with the vessel, trusting the accuracy of the data they use. That’s why we rely on s-Suite and StormGeo’s experts. We now have the easy-to-use tools we need and actionable data to make the right decision at the right time.”

s-Suite is a cybersecure and hardware independent platform that works with all third-party solutions. Installation can be done overnight with little training required.

StormGeo’s s-Suite includes Voyage Planning, Onboard Route Optimisation, Route Advisory Services and Fleet Performance Management.