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Opsealog: Path to data-driven efficiency in the OSV sector

Damien Bertin highlights findings of the firm’s latest white paper and offers recommendations that can help OSV operators secure immediate gains in fuel efficiency.




Opsealog: The path to data-driven efficiency in the OSV sector

Damien Bertin, Business Director at maritime performance management expert Opsealog, highlights findings of the company’s latest white paper, offering recommendations that can help OSV operators secure immediate gains in fuel efficiency and reduce the carbon impact of their offshore activities:

Most OSV operators know what it takes to operate a fleet well. What they don’t always have is the precise, granular data they need to assess whether or not their vessels are performing at their best.

Fuel monitoring and analytics enables companies to track their fuel usage, have a better understanding of their energy efficiency and monitor the technical performance of the engines. For fleet managers, having detailed monitoring in place helps them gain insights on how to adjust operations to improve efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint and control operational costs. It also quantifies the reduction in fuel consumption gained from efficiency improvements or hull cleaning, for instance. 

In short, it gives fleet managers the data to follow up on an objective, with an evidence-driven basis for making the best decisions about their fleet’s current operations and future trajectories.

The rise of the digital era comes as pressure to decarbonise is growing rapidly: globally through the IMO’s Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) and its Data Collection System (DCS), and regionally through measures such as the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and EU MRV (monitoring, reporting, and verification) regulation. Although OSV operators are not yet required to comply with these regulations, it is likely they will need to do so in the future, as regulatory targets and reporting requirements ramp up in the OSV sector. 

Whilst maritime decarbonisation targets are ambitious and will require action in the short term, the encouraging news is that there are five clear steps that we can take today that will deliver immediate and significant fuel savings in OSV operations. What is more, these short-term measures will lay the foundations for a long-term programme of change, all driven by a data-led approach to fuel efficiency.   

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Step 1: Mapping the existing data environment 

The Alan Turing Institute defines data 'wrangling' as the process of understanding, integrating, and preparing data for computer modelling. In the context of ship operations, data mapping involves assessing various data sources, both digital and paper-based, and addressing issues like missing or messy data. This mapping also explores potential enhancements through external data, such as weather forecasts. 

Most fuel efficiency improvements can be unlocked with data that is already available, avoiding the need to install new sensors or systems. Instead, the key is to streamline data collection and integration. Connectivity is crucial for data transfer, so upgrades and cybersecurity should be taken into consideration. 

Collating data from different sources often requires the deployment of Application Program Interfaces (APIs), and questions of data ownership must be addressed contractually. 

Step 2: Understanding the data analysis process

After data is collected, checked, and integrated, human oversight becomes crucial in the analysis process. While digital tools provide a precise snapshot of fleet performance and identify patterns, human expertise is necessary to interpret the data in the specific context of the company, fleet, and operational challenges. In short, people play a vital role in transforming data into actionable insights and driving change.

Digital solutions help operators leverage data for regulatory compliance and business opportunities. These solutions can analyse historical and forecasted data alongside current conditions, automating data collection without burdening the crew. This real-time data enables quick responses to changing conditions and proactive problem-solving. However, it's essential for ship operators to understand how these analyses and recommendations are generated, especially to ensure safety levels are maintained. Although technology contributes to key performance indicators (KPIs), human experience remains irreplaceable in ship operation and management.

Step 3: Identifying clear goals for greater efficiency 

Providing insights into factors like fuel consumption and emissions, embracing digitalisation is a practical decision for companies. In practice, tracking data allows companies to identify starting points and potential areas for improvement, leading to enhanced operational, financial, and environmental outcomes. With this improved information flow and automated reporting, unprecedented accuracy and visualisation enables the setting of goals for improving fuel management. At this point, clear KPIs are crucial for assessing return on investment, and communicating results.

Data on vessel positions, speed, and engine configurations allows understanding of underperforming vessels, facilitating goal-setting for improvement. Tailored insights can be delivered at individual ship or fleet levels, multiplying efficiency gains. However, new operating practices to meet KPIs require acceptance and understanding from crews and shoreside personnel. Contractual and safety issues should be considered in consultation with those involved in day-to-day tasks.

Step 4: Ensuring a collaborative process 

Successful digitalisation requires organisational and cultural changes as much as technological advancement. The transition must encompass all levels, from boardrooms to vessel bridges. While technical challenges like data integration can be resolved, a shift in mindsets is crucial for effective implementation. Real dialogue and discussions about on-the-ground realities are vital for success.

User experience is paramount, requiring investment in software design to ensure users are comfortable with interfaces and understand their roles and goals. Projects often involve multiple stakeholders, including third-party providers, and data from various sources, requiring collaborative efforts for smooth integration.

Internal stakeholders, especially managers, play a crucial role in implementing a new digital mindset. While a project manager may coordinate with external providers, overall engagement from everyone in the company is essential. Securing buy-in and adoption from employees involves investing time and resources to engage them and convey the meaningful impact of digital solutions on their roles and responsibilities. At Opsealog, we believe that digitalisation is viewed as a continuous journey rather than a singular outcome.

Step 5: Managing ongoing change 

Pilot testing new approaches is crucial for gaining valuable experience and building confidence in the broader implementation of digital solutions. Change management is a vital aspect of digitalisation projects, and operators may wish to limit changes initially to specific projects, regions, or vessel types. Some solutions may be tailored to certain operations or vessels with specific power systems, impacting the rollout strategy.

Following the initial project, an operator's digital ecosystem continues to grow, driven by confidence in fuel efficiency improvements. As regulations continue to change, and with ongoing expert consultation more opportunities for reducing fuel consumption will be revealed. As new low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels emerge, data collection and processing methods will need to adapt, ensuring robust measurements of consumption, emissions, and operational costs associated with adopting these new fuels.

Digitalisation is an ongoing process rather than a final destination. Establishing foundations for onboard reporting supports long-term organisational ambitions, but data processes must evolve to align with the changing landscape of the energy transition. Internal communication of successes ensures operational gains positively impact future tenders, while external communication to charterers, financiers, and insurance providers enhances strategic opportunities and creates lasting value for the operator.

Photo credit: Opsealog
Published: 27 November, 2023

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Singapore-based Hafnia tankers to be retrofitted with Wärtsilä propulsion efficiency solution

Wärtsilä will supply its EnergoFlow and EnergoProFin solutions for ten Bird Class oil and chemical tankers owned by Hafnia to considerably improve propulsion efficiency.





Singapore-based Hafnia tankers to be retrofitted with Wärtsilä propulsion efficiency solution

Technology group Wärtsilä on Thursday (23 November) said it will be supplying its EnergoFlow and EnergoProFin solutions for ten Bird Class oil and chemical tankers owned by Hafnia – the Singapore head-quartered global tanker operator. 

The combination of the two Wärtsilä systems ensures an optimised waterflow over and after the propeller, thereby improving propulsion efficiency considerably. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in October 2023.

EnergoFlow is an innovative pre-swirl stator that creates an optimal inflow for the propeller, reducing fuel consumption and emissions in all operating conditions. The EnergoProFin is an energy saving propeller cap with fins that rotate together with the propeller. It reduces the energy losses created by the propeller hub vortex, increasing overall propulsion efficiency and significantly reducing underwater noise.   

By improving the vessels’ fuel efficiency, emissions are reduced, operating costs are lowered, and both the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) rating and Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) value are improved.

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“There are many benefits to be gained by improving the operating efficiency of our vessels’ propulsion systems and we look forward to having these innovative Wärtsilä solutions installed,” said Ralph Juhl, EVP, Technical Director at Hafnia.

“At Hafnia we are working hard to decarbonise our operations and these retrofitted solutions will support this commitment.”

“Wärtsilä’s OPTI Design methodology takes advantage of computational fluid dynamics along with our extensive in-house know-how. The EnergoProFin propeller cap and EnergoFlow pre-swirl stator work together to deliver meaningful fuel savings and better environmental performance, which are key ambitions for today’s leading operators,” said Francois Emin, Product Manager – Propulsion, Wärtsilä.

The Wärtsilä equipment is scheduled to be delivered commencing in 2024. The project will be carried out over a two-year period for the 10 vessels.

Photo credit: Wärtsilä 
Published: 24 November, 2023

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Digital platform

VPS: Using data to improve fuel procurement and fuel efficiency

John Oosthoek and Ruben Hofsli of marine fuels testing company VPS explore the pivotal role of data-driven decision-making in decarbonising the shipping industry.






John Oosthoek, VP Digital, and Ruben Hofsli, Maritime Decarbonisation Manager, of marine fuels testing company VPS, explore the pivotal role of data-driven decision-making in decarbonising the shipping industry, with a specific focus on how customers are harnessing its data analytics solutions such as PortStats and Maress: 

Maritime shipping, which already is the most carbon efficient way of transporting goods, accounts for over 80% of world trade transports and for only 2.1% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions (World Shipping Council, 2023). In this global industry, where ships navigate a myriad of issues in a ceaseless dance of commerce and transport, our customers are facing a critical challenge – decarbonising their fleet operations.

Illustrated by initiatives such as the carbon intensity indicator (CII), a regulation introduced by the IMO in 2022, as well as the European Union’s FuelEU maritime initiative entering into force in 2025, there are growing societal and regulatory pressures on the shipping sector to reduce their environmental footprint. Clear targets have been recently revised by the IMO: 20% emissions reduction by 2030 and 70% by 2040 to reach net zero by 2050.

A key aspect in the pathway towards decarbonisation of the shipping sector is the efficient use of marine fuels. The quality and composition of marine fuels directly impact vessel performance, environmental sustainability, and operational costs. As the global leader in testing the quality of marine fuels, VPS assists its customers to navigate the complexities of marine fuel procurement, -treatment and -management. In this article, we delve into the growing role of data-driven decision-making in the shipping industry, with a specific focus on how our customers are harnessing our data analytics solutions such as PortStats and Maress to optimise fuel procurement decision-making, prevent off-spec fuels from causing vessel downtime and reduce the environmental footprint of their fleet.

Using PortStats to anticipate fuel off-specs and optimise calorific value

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Let us consider the case of a fuel procurement Director at a large ship owner-operator. As this company both owns the vessels and operates them, any fuel costs, as well as costs due to unplanned maintenance events directly impact the company’s bottom-line. The fleet typically bunkers in hubs such as Singapore, Rotterdam and Houston, but also has some fuel deliveries planned in other ports such as Cartagena, Port Klang and Lome.

This user experienced two clear benefits from using our PortStats solution:

1. By using PortStats to benchmark their existing fuel deliveries in Singapore, Rotterdam and Houston, the company was able to cherry-pick the most reliable suppliers in these ports, whilst also getting higher calorific value fuels in the process. This saved the company ca. 80,000 MT of marine fuel per year purely on energy.

2. The company was also able to prevent off-specs from negatively affecting their vessels. The user noticed a relatively high number of cat fines and TSP off-specs with one of their short-listed suppliers.

Whilst this may have been the top choice based on price, the company used the quality scorecards feature in PortStats to evaluate the market situation, and ended up going with the slightly more expensive alternative, which had much lower AlSi and no TSP off-specs, thus mitigating any consequent risks for engine damage.

Poor fuel management is one of the top three immediate causes for main engine damage, with an average cost of ca. $344,000 per incident (The Swedish Club, 2018). PortStats helps users to prevent off-specs and to be aware of potential operational considerations based on the quality of the fuels before bunkering. Furthermore, as the calorific value of marine fuels is an important decision-making factor, PortStats makes this variable transparent, giving bunker buyers and traders and important lever in determining the true value of a bunker stem.

Using Maress to optimise fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions


Now let us consider the case of connecting data from ship-to-shore. Nowadays, the majority of shipowners have operational data flowing from their vessels to their shore facilities in one way or another. Some of them have advanced systems in place, with high frequency data being available, whilst others rely on noon-reports. Typically, the equipment and technology that is available differs from vessel to vessel. The challenge then becomes to assess whether the available data is good enough and how to utilise this data to gain valuable insights.

Maress is the VPS solution focused on helping shipowners to systemise the data they already have at their disposal. Through visualising and reporting this data, Maress creates data transparency for our customers when it comes to fuel consumption. As a result, these companies are able to increase their focus on fuel efficiency across the board - from the crew onboard of the vessels to the onshore operational staff supporting them.

Note: The full version of this article which includes how shipowner Tidewater used VPS’ Maress to improve fuel efficiency of its fleet, can be found here

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 22 November, 2023

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Digital platform

ZeroNorth consolidates existing bunkering business following acquisitions 

ZeroNorth Bunker will consolidate its 13 existing product offerings into six core products spanning Bunker Planning, Bunker Procurement, Bunker Supply and Trading, Bunker Pricing and e-BDN solutions.






Marine technology company ZeroNorth on Tuesday (14 November) announced that it is consolidating its existing bunkering business under the ZeroNorth brand, to offer faster value delivery for customers, and driving enhanced data-driven insights, additional fuel savings, improved profit margins and emissions reduction.

ZeroNorth said it recognised the importance of digitisation across the entire bunker value chain to accelerate the decarbonisation of the shipping industry. 

“To this end, the past 18 months have seen ZeroNorth invest heavily in the bunkering space, acquiring Clearlynx, Prosmar Bunkering and BTS to serve all parts of the market. The integration into ZeroNorth Bunker will see one unified team come together under a single brand, creating synergies across the different solutions to enable faster release of new features that respond to market needs,” it said in a statement shared with Singapore-based bunkering publication Manifold Times

ZeroNorth Bunker is consolidating the company’s 13 existing product offerings into six core products spanning Bunker Planning, Bunker Procurement, Bunker Supply and Trading, Bunker Pricing and electronic bunker delivery notes (e-BDN) solutions.

“These solutions will facilitate data-driven decisions for customers, with this integrated approach bringing transparency and continuity to customers’ bunkering processes and delivering an enhanced user experience,” the firm added. 

Kenneth Juhls, Managing Director for ZeroNorth Bunker at ZeroNorth, said: “Leveraging real-time market insights and with 50 million tonnes of bunkers already traded annually on the platform, we take pride at ZeroNorth in our ability to drive positive change in the bunkering industry. This includes accelerating digitalisation and transparency in the sector, which ultimately contributes towards our customers’ decarbonisation and commercial goals.”

The firm added ZeroNorth Bunker turns millions of live data points into actionable recommendations by optimising the bunkering process.

“More robust insights will be generated for customers through this integrated approach, as more data is being interpreted which will in time enable the data flywheel effect, delivering a positive feedback loop.”

“The platform will be able to deliver deeper, more granular insights into bunker optimisation, reducing fuel consumption and associated costs and emissions for customers, driving benefit for both profit and planet.”

Manifold Times previously reported ZeroNorth acquiring BTS PTE Ltd., a software platform for marine fuel suppliers, headquartered in Singapore.

The deal saw ZeroNorth acquiring BTS’s flagship suite of services - iBMS (Intelligent Bunker Management System) - which is software specially tailored for the marine fuel supply chain.

iBMS was one of the first projects supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) under the Maritime Innovation and Technology Fund (MINT) in the early 2000s.

BTS is currently one of the three digital solution providers in MPA’s current list of approved digital bunkering solutions. MPA launched its digital bunkering initiative on 1 November 2023, becoming the first port in the world to implement e-BDN.

Last year, ZeroNorth launched ZeroNorth Bunker, an integrated solution for bunker planning, procurement, and analytics services. The firm said ZeroNorth Bunker enabled data-driven decision-making across a transparent marine fuel value chain.

Related: Singapore set to become first port in the world to debut electronic bunker delivery notes
Related: MPA Chief Executive: Port of Singapore begins digital bunkering initiative today 
Related: ZeroNorth acquires Singapore’s bunker supplier software provider BTS
Related: ZeroNorth acquires Prosmar Bunker Dashboard solution and Bunker Pricer module
Related: ZeroNorth acquires US-based bunker market platform ClearLynx
Related: ZeroNorth unveils ZeroNorth Bunker for bunker planning, procurement, and analytics
Related: ZeroNorth opens new office in Singapore to expand in Asia

Photo credit: ZeroNorth
Published: 15 November, 2023

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