How Optimized Weather Routing Helps Maximize Efficiency
Weather routing combines data from multiple sources to calculate the optimal route for a vessel to take. It brings together the wind, waves and current conditions, the ship specific speed loss profile, and the ports the ship is sailing between to help meet the voyage KPIs.
The main priority is to help vessels sail the most efficient route. It’s not necessarily about sailing the quickest or fastest route (though it can be); instead, it’s a careful balancing act, to manage fuel consumption, time at sea, and of course maintain safety.
Why vessels need to sail on the edge
In an ideal world, vessels would always be routed through good weather conditions and wouldn’t have to worry about the impact of adverse weather. However, if they’re always routed through good weather conditions, voyages would take too long and use more fuel.
In practice, optimized weather routing is about sailing on the edge of what is acceptable for the ship, the crew and the cargo. This may mean changing the route, or it could be that the ship slows down to wait for the weather event to pass. The decision will depend on what is best for both safety and also managing the voyage time and fuel consumption.
How does weather routing work?
After gathering all the data, methodologies will work to determine the best route and the potential alternatives, establishing what each route will mean for the voyage duration, ETA and the total cost.
The Initial Voyage planning starts 24 hours before departure. This means the company knows upfront the options and the numbers that support each option, including the pros and cons of each route.
Then, every single day for the duration of the voyage, MeteoGroup will recalculate whether or not that particular route is still the best route or does it need to be adapted. This is a big difference from much of the competition. MeteoGroup does the recalculation no matter what because small changes in weather can change the whole route and long term forecasts are less accurate.
What are the benefits of optimized weather routing?
With the help of accurate weather forecasts, ships have the ability to sail at the correct speed to get to the port at the right time, every time. This process involves calculating the optimum speed, based on the fuel usage, type of ship and the growth of shells and seaweed on the hull to achieve the ETA. With the fuel savings alone from optimized routes typically falling between $5,000 and $15,000, there are some significant opportunities for companies to save on costs.
Discover how one Shipping company is making savings through optimized weather routing.