Technology can help the maritime industry to improve efficiency, reliability and safety. We spoke to Søren Christian Meyer, CEO, ZeroNorth, about intelligent weather routing, the costs of implementing data monitoring and investing in clean technologies, as well as what shipping companies are struggling the most when it comes to data.
How can weather monitoring improve sustainability and achieve green goals?
Intelligent weather routing – interpreting wind, current and waves – helps create safe and navigable routes for vessels. Ocean condition has a huge effect on vessel efficiency and fuel consumption. Having a good view of what’s ahead on a vessel’s path is therefore critical.
Crucially, technology has now matured to the point where operators can not only automatically avoid bad weather, but also continuously find the most optimal route, giving both owners and operators the confidence that every vessel is always sailing optimally while taking advantage of the weather on every route.
As the industry begins to use cleaner fuels, comprehensive voyage planning will be critical to help the industry to manage its transition to the imminent operating reality where zero carbon fuels are many times more expensive than the fossil default.
In effect, every ton of fuel saved by including weather routing on every voyage represents more money that the sector can inject into its clean fuel transition. This is in addition to the immediate positive emissions reductions that we can unlock today by working proactively around the weather across a voyage.
What are the cost differences between implementing data monitoring and investing in clean technologies?
Importantly, unlike other clean technology solutions, there is little-to-no capex barrier or vessel downtime for the implementation of digital solutions.
Without the need for hardware installation, and at a low ongoing cost point, advanced digital solutions like data monitoring can pay themselves back
quickly, unlocking fuel savings and boosting earnings at around the same magnitude as some clean technologies.
This could be anywhere between a 3-10% efficiency gain, and therefore emissions reduction. This cost difference is especially visible when clean technologies often cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and weeks of vessel downtime for retrofits.
This cost saving can be used in several ways, such as investment in research & development, future fuels, and other
efficiency solutions. Digital solutions therefore make it easier for the industry to decarbonise.
What are the areas that shipping companies are most struggling with when it comes to data collection?
The biggest challenge that shipping companies are struggling to address, in terms of data collection, has to do with the quality of data. At present, noon reports are often gathered manually, which can present issues for consistency, standardisation, and confidence in data.
So, to really drive change, the sector needs to be basing optimisation decisions on the reality that a vessel faces. This includes dynamic weather, accurate fuel models to predict consumption and any factor that has an impact on speed, route and when, where and what to bunker.
Collaboration and convening will also be important here. ZeroNorth has created an industry working group, called Immediate Decarbonisation Action. This group is made up of peers, partners, and competitors andit’s mission to tackle the complex issues which are stopping the decarbonisation journey and vessels from being fully optimised. The first topic the group collaborated on was to create and industry benchmark from which to measure fuel consumption model accuracy to ensure that users are using an accurate baseline for vessel optimisation. In other words, by working together we’re able to set the foundations for optimisation decisions and progress the industry’s decarbonisation pathway. ✷