OP-ED: AI-enabled predictability—an immediate opportunity for fuel and emissions savings

Written by Heather Ervin
DeepSea’s CEO and Co-Founder, Roberto Coustas in marine shipping op-ed

DeepSea’s CEO and Co-Founder, Roberto Coustas

By Roberto Coustas, co-founder and CEO, DeepSea Technologies

Imagine that you could wake up every day and know with a degree of 99% accuracy what your day will entail. The length of your shower and its temperature, your car’s fuel consumption, traffic levels, voyage time, the exact time you will arrive at the office and the number of people in the office lift, so you would even know whether you need to take the stairs.

It all sounds alarmingly predictable, but for the shipping industry, predictability is certainly not boring. Challenged from all sides to decarbonize, reduce costs, embrace more data transparency in business decisions, and save latent time in the supply chain, predictability opens the door to many previously unthinkable possibilities.

Take fuel consumption and carbon emissions as an example. Huge volumes of bunker fuel are wasted every day due to inefficient sailing routes, speed policies and sub-optimal operation of vessel systems. Traditional weather routing solutions cannot do much to improve this situation, as they just create a route for a ship with the weather in mind.

AI-Powered Weather Routing

This is where artificial intelligence (AI) can make all the difference. An AI-powered weather routing platform considers the performance of the vessel within the context of the weather en-route, elevating its capabilities to deliver true performance routing.

Taking vessel performance into consideration when looking at voyage planning is essential, because a small vessel with a clean hull is likely to perform differently to a large vessel with a fouled hull, despite sailing through the same weather conditions. Similarly, smaller vessels may be more impacted by waves, and in a different way, than larger vessels. This is where an AI weather routing system that takes in the unique complexities of each vessel is more accurate than traditional weather routing systems that do not make performance considerations.

AI-powered modelling provides a critical foundation for understanding a vessel’s performance, even before it has left port. This level of predictability means that, even accounting for uncertainties in weather, a voyage can be predicted with a high level of accuracy before it has begun. AI-powered modelling is then able to offer energy efficiency improvements well beyond “monitoring”—it can power a system that adapts in real-time to the changing conditions. 

Continual automated monitoring of a vessel’s existing data sources and third-party data also means that the correct actions can be taken when unpredicted weather conditions inevitably occur. If an unexpected sea-state is encountered, for example, the AI system can suggest an optimal change in speed—turning the unpredictable into something that vessels and masters can intelligently manage, in real time.

This proves that knowing a vessel’s DNA adds layers of accuracy—and savings—to the weather routing capability. There is a profound variance between a traditional ‘weather routing’ company’s ability to assess and produce a route based on the weather, and a system that takes into consideration the vessel’s specific performance profile – built using a data-driven approach – and adds that to weather data to truly optimize voyages.

Vessel Performance Accuracy

Even more impressive is the fact that vessel performance can be modeled with 99% accuracy. In one comparison of DeepSea’s voyage optimization platform—Pythia—versus a traditional weather routing provider, a vessel sailing from Shanghai to Singapore saved 12.1 metric tonnes of bunker fuel, equating to a cost and CO2 saving of over $6,000 and around 35 tonnes, respectively.

These savings become even more business-critical when considered in the context of new and emerging market and regulatory drivers. These include fuel cost rises occurring in tandem with the introduction of new low and zero carbon fuels, increasingly stringent IMO environmental regulations (including CII, EEXI and amends to EEOI), plus the anticipated introduction of new carbon taxes.

There is a major and immediate opportunity for the maritime industry to realize significant fuel and emissions savings through utilizing AI as part of a whole new approach to voyage optimization—we call it “performance routing.” And shipping companies should grab it quickly to capitalize on this now.

Categories: Environment, Op-Eds, Shipping, Technology Tags: , , , , , ,