Inchcape is adding a Port Cost Estimator (PCE) to its World of Ports (WOP) 2.0 platform that will make both voyage cost calculations and TCE estimates much easier and more accurate.
The new module has been created by head of systems at Inchcape, Captain Aravind Prasath, and his team. Capt. Prasath was a vessel master for 10 years before joining Inchcape so is very familiar with the “unknown variables” that can knock port-cost calculations out of whack.
Loading and discharging makes up a big chunk of the total cost of a voyage and a major challenge is to estimate the cost both ways. To go ahead with a charter, insight into every required financial transaction is required to avoid making a loss. PCE provides cost estimates based on port operations ranging from loading and discharging to bunkering and canal transits, and across different vessel types and sizes.
Many variables can influence the cost of a port call, including the port itself, the terminal, type and size of vessel, type and quantity of cargo, whether it is loading or discharging, and a wide range of optional and mandatory in-port services. Using the PCE tool, the user can select their vessel and load/discharge port and PCE will provide an average baseline cost (the bare minimum) in three clicks. It automatically fills in vessel details from its database. The more fields that are populated (specific terminal and type of cargo and quantity), the closer the estimate will be.
To get a realistic prediction PCE matches users’ requests based on actual calls and PDAs (proforma disbursement accounts). It digs down among more than 3.5 million datapoints in Inchcape’s proprietary historical port dataset stemming directly from Inchcape’s global network. Inchcape has administered millions of port calls over the years and tracks calls being made by 50,000 vessels each and every day. This means the dataset is dynamic and being added to all the time.
While voyage distance and bunker costs can be calculated pretty easily, the key issue is lay-time. Especially with big cargoes, it’s impossible to know exactly how long a vessel will be in port, but this information is crucial to calculate a reasonably accurate voyage cost. Inchape adds local port data into the system to provide greater information on port charges and overall likely costs.
The next release of PCE will include the option to download an estimate and request a PDA from Inchcape. Through Inchcape’s own offices or its business partners, the company covers 85 per cent of the world’s ports.. Estimates can also be printed in PDF format for later reference.
Inchcape also enables the user to calculate total voyage costs by adding ports in PCE to get an entire voyage overview. This can help the user identify a different port that may be cheaper, or obtain a closer estimate for example for a one-off drydock visit. For even closer TCE estimates, the user can combine PCE estimates with port congestion and turnaround info from the Port Data module in the WOP platform.
PCE also details costs for third-party services including but not limited to fresh water provision, sludge disposal, garbage collection and launch services available for over 1,000 ports. Costs are standardised based on the total amount of services provided during ports stay at a given exchange rate.
PCE also details port rebates and exemptions where applicable for more than 1,300 ports worldwide. Rebates can be linked to frequency of calls of similar duration, for example under CoAs. Pilotage and green rebates can also influence charter rates and are similarly included.
World of Ports can integrate the PCE into any system through rest API. Inchcape sends a link with an ID and password to the user’s system, which will fetch the data from Inchcape’s database and display on the user’s interface.
Furthermore, the changes to WOP include a more dynamic display of vessel traffic which can be filtered according to vessel type and trade. The MyFleet function also lets the user easily create its own fleet in just a few clicks. White noise can also be removed to show either only the user’s own fleet and/or its competitors’ vessels.
‘Zone groups’ can also be created which filter down to specific vessel types. This immediately shows what competing ships are in that zone and where they’re heading. It will also tell the user how many vessels are going to be free for charter in a certain location.
PCE complements World of Ports’ existing Port Data module and will soon be followed by a Port Performance module, as well as Market Intelligence. Port Performance will feature data on turnaround times based on vessel type and commodity, and port congestion in near real time. Market Intelligence will provide insight into commodity flow(s) at the global level. These modules will together help the marine assurance and operations community to plan and benchmark voyages in ways that were unthinkable just a few years ago.
A scaled-back version of the PCE will be launched towards the end of March that will be free to use on Inchcape’s website.