XShip: a software platform for ship performance and analytics

XShip: a software platform for ship performance and analytics

XShip is a performance and analytics software platform.  It has helped almost 1500 vessels spread across different geographies and has aided some of the largest shipping companies in streamlining their operations, reducing cost and thus emissions.

XShip helps clients monitor fleets of vessels by collecting and analysing data from systems already installed onboard vessels.  Thus, not only the product is hardware agnostic but it does not even require any hardware installation.  The analysed data is presented in reports revealing insights about operations, fuel consumptions, regular maintenance, and dollar savings.  Primarily, shipping companies want to identify whether investments are providing good return and thus are worth rolling out across their fleet.

Established in 2018, XShip is a young start-up that has gained the trust of many well-known clients such as MSC, MTM, PIL, Pacific Basin, Nippon Paint Marine, and Diamond Shipping.  The company is currently monitoring almost 500 vessels.  Speaking during VPO Global’s webinar, Case studies from vessel performance analysis[1], Sandith Thandasherry, CEO of XShip emphasised on how XShip is helping companies to make better informed decisions for cost and energy efficient operations.

Approaches to energy saving

Predominantly, there are three approaches to fuel and energy saving.  First, a direct saving by installing energy saving solutions like solar panels or wind sails.  Second, fine tuning operations by evaluating various energy saving solutions installed onboard.  Third, improving the productivity of staff by providing improved tools. XShip’s goal is to provide all three approaches via a single tool.

Energy saving solutions

Trim optimisation

Trim optimisation can quickly lead to reduction in fuel consumption.  XShip uses computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to estimate the vessel performance at different speeds, draft and trim.

Mr. Sandith explained that for a 40,000 deadweight (DWT) bulk carrier XShip determined the optimum trim.  Based on XShip recommendation, the vessel operators ensured that the optimum trim was established.  This led to a fuel saving of almost 6.0 per cent, amounting to around 323 tonnes of fuel saved annually.

Fuel savings accrued via trim optimisation for a 40,000 DWT bulk carrier

Solar power

Solar power is a cheap and eco-friendly method of power production.  Mr. Sandith explained, “XShip has identified a 25 kilowatt solar plant as a scalable unit for commercial vessels”.

In a case study of an 86,000 DWT bulk carrier, a 25KW plant was installed on the vessel.  The capex for this installation is approximately US $20,000.  Assuming a fuel cost of 450 dollar per tonne, the cost of power is around USD 0.11 per KWH.  Including the maintenance cost, then the cost of the power is still less than 0.5 cent.  For this investment, the breakeven point is less than five years.  Carrying out a sensitivity analysis with respect to different fuel prices (see figure 2), the breakeven and the net cash flow is high, including removing the cost of initial cost investment. Mr. Sandith explained, “It is very important to know if you take the net present value (NPV), the assumption is about 5 per cent of the cost of finance, we still see that even at low fuel price, the NPV is very high. So, solar plants on ships is a great way to save money.”

Analysis of solar plant installation on a 86,000 DWT bulk carrier

Wind power

“When it comes to renewable energy, wind is a much more scalable form of energy production,” noted Mr. Thandasherry.  XShip is working on cylindrical stationary sails.  It has completed land-based testing and expects to carry out a ship installation by end of this year.

Enabling better decision making

Significant savings can be achieved by enabling better decision making.  Predominantly, this can be achieved in three ways.  First, evaluating the savings gained from energy saving solutions.  If the gains are leading to a significant return on investment, then shipowners can decide to replicate the solutions across the fleet.  Second, enabling the timing of the maintenance.  If fuel consumption or speed loss shoots above a certain threshold, then a vessel can be scheduled for regular maintenance.  Third, improving prediction accuracy, which can help in securing contracts, per cent penalties, and benchmarking vessel performance against other vessels with similar operating profiles.

XShip recently added a proprietary algorithm to the new ISO 19030 standard. This has standardised methods of performance measurement of vessels.  The purpose of the algorithm is to estimate percent change in fuel consumption gain due to any intervention, including an energy saving solution.

A 23,000 DWT chemical tanker applied low friction paint during the new build time.  XShip found that the vessel consumed less fuel after the pain was applied.  The vessel saw a drop of 12 per cent in fuel consumption, equivalent to USD 170,000 in a year.  This enabled the client to understand the direct impact of the paint application.  The client subsequently made the decision to apply the paint on  other vessels.

Savings due to a high quality paint on a chemical tanker

Mr. Thandasherry noted that XShip has helped a range of companies to understand parameters such as propeller degradation and the impact of applied paints, enabling the companies to implement new policies across the fleet.  XShip also helps shipping companies to schedule their hull and propeller cleaning at regular intervals. “We help them monitor degradation and timely maintenance, so that they can save fuel.  We can set these expected degradation points based on the paint applied sailing routes and trigger an early intervention, if the actual degradation is more than expected,” he explained.

Making better decisions around vessel performance also includes understanding where a solution has not had the desired effects. Mr. Thandasherry explained one scenario where a shipping company undertook bow modification on one of its container vessels.  However, XShip analysis revealed that the fuel savings achieved did not justify the investment made in this project.  As a result, the client decided not to continue with bow modifications on other ships.

One of XShip’s partners, Nippon Paint Marine, is using XShip’s solution to prove to shipping companies the value in high quality paint coating.  According to XShip, Nippon Paint is using XShip’s services to improve R&D and create better products for its customers.

Data collection

There are two ways for XShip to collect data from a vessel. First, from systems or hardware already installed on vessels. Second, from third party hardware providers which XShip can directly pick data from.  XShip can collect data at a very high frequency and can do data validation as per the ISO standard.  Live data can be fed from the vessel into the XShip system at as fast as 5-second intervals.

Analysing productivity

XShip also helps shipping companies to analyse the productivity of its operations.  The company provides quick access to data and reports through its smart data module.  The information collated by XShip can be used for surveys, manuals, and reports.  Please follow this link https://bit.ly/31hXnQh to view Mr. Thandasherry showcasing the usability of the XShip tool.

To find out more about XShip, watch VPO Global’s webinar here https://bit.ly/3cjkLmU

[1] www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvZ1ZcGMO4g