“MeteoGroup Calling!” Data-Checks to Optimize Vessel Performance
Every day over a thousand vessels send their data to MeteoGroup via MeteoGroup’s Easy Noon algorithm.
The sun shines over the sparkling waves and the ship sails westwards, towards a destination far away. All crewmembers are hard at work, and the weather conditions are favorable. But what about the vessel performance? Is it performing at its best? In the shipping industry, large amounts of money are exchanged for services, yet strong competition makes profit margins thin. To ship owners, charterers, and shipping companies, vessel efficiency is extremely important in order to maximize their return. To help these companies, MeteoGroup offers an industry leading vessel monitoring service as part of its FleetGuard product suite.
The colleagues of Pascal van der Pijl, team lead at FleetGuard, play an important role in the fleet analysis by ensuring the vessel data collected by Easy Noon is being checked. Each day the captain fills in a report at 12:00 local time and sends it to the FleetGuard team. The checking is partly automated and partly manual. After the checks by this team, a Daily Performance Indicator (DPI) is created and sent to the charterer or owner of the ship.
Checking the Easy-Noon Report
The Easy Noon report is in a fixed format, ensuring that the position and timings of the ship are included as well as fuel consumption since the previous report and the amount of fuel remaining onboard. Furthermore, a lot of required data depends on agreements made in advance. Elements such as seagoing draught, type and amount of cargo (or ballast), speed, and weather conditions will often be reported.
Pascal says, "Our work consists of two parts. The first is to check all the information entered and the second is to use that information to analyze the ship's performance. This concerns the performance according to the 'good weather' stipulation in the agreed charter party. Actually, it is routing in retrospect.”
Checking the Easy Noon report is quite complicated. For example, a position may be incorrect due to a typographical error. "We check whether the ship was at the location it mentioned in the report by verifying on the AIS", says Pascal. Uncorrected typing errors anywhere in the received data can lead to erroneous analyses and must therefore be removed. Sometimes errors are simple to detect (such as a vessel covering 600 miles in a 24-hour period), however, often it is the more complicated errors that are difficult to discover.
An example of a Daily Performance Indicator, DPI. The most important aspects can be seen at a glance. For example, the amount of time lost (at the bottom of the table). 83 additional hours are spent because of the 9,9 knots performance speed.
A Useful Inquiry
Captains must deal with an increasing amount of overhead. Pascal understands that asking a captain to fill-out yet another form may not generate enthusiastic responses. "For a captain, the profit of an Easy Noon report can be less clear. Sometimes they are less than eager to receive our calls." However, there are real advantages for the captain, "He or she can explain themselves with such a report”. Pascal continues, “It is a kind of accountability that is provided on a daily basis. Neither the captain, nor his employer, wants to be faced with any surprises." The Noon reports are often linked into MeteoGroup’s SPOS routing program, which makes life even easier for everyone.
Reducing Costs or Becoming More Sustainable
The Daily Report, DPI, gets sent to the charterer, or owner, presenting an overview of vessel performance with different elements displayed in a colour-coded way. One can easily spot if there was any time-loss, over-consumption, or speed deviation; gaining insight into the areas in which could be improved.
The controlled data by the FleetGuard team is also used to make the Post Voyage Analysis Reports, PVAR’s. Such an analysis covers the entire voyage of the ship and therefore provides a much more complete overview than a daily report.
"We notice that received data from vessels is gradually becoming higher in quality,” says Pascal. "Ultimately, it's all about the quality of the information. If you, as a shipping company, want to reduce costs or become more sustainable, then everything starts with a thorough analysis. And we love doing that for you.”