Four Benefits of Optimized Weather Routing To Achieve Competitive Advantage

Plotting a course from A to B is not so hard; getting from A to B, while managing costs, like fuel consumption, and maintaining safety is more of a challenge. 

 

Overcoming this hurdle is where optimized weather routing comes into play. It enables you to develop the optimal route for every voyage, based on your unique KPIs. It brings together the weather forecasts, sea conditions, and the ship’s characteristics and cargo (both below- and on deck) to calculate the most efficient and effective route.

To help highlight why optimized weather routing is so important, here are the four benefits that you need to know:

 

1. Cost-Savings through reduced fuel consumption

Did you know optimal weather routing can offer fuel savings between 4- 10%, depending on the type of vessel, the season, and the conditions. Savings also come from operational costs, by reducing transit times, reducing fuel consumption, and minimizing cargo and hull damage.

As well, eeather routing, either onboard or onshore, ensure that the benefits of reducing fuel consumption and saving costs does not compromise on efficiency. Taking into consideration the KPIs of the voyage, the optimal route means you can reduce fuel consumption without missing ETAs, breaking charter party agreements, or impacting on safety.

 

2. Operational efficiency: Optimize route planning

Accurate weather data and advances in technology mean that captains can have more data onboard than ever before. The variable speed algorithm, for example, means they can speed up or slow down to avoid adverse weather. Other tools, such as voyage trim optimization, specifically help reduce fuel consumption and increase the utilization of your fleet.

Adverse weather alerts can let you know if conditions are changing on your planned route. This insight enables you to plot an alternative route before it affects the performance of the voyage or becomes a safety risk.

 

3. Prevent damage to the environment

Studies show the shipping industry can reduce emissions by up to 55% through measures to reduce fuel consumption. Specific techniques, like speed reduction and weather routing, can reduce emissions by 17-34% and 1-4% respectively and save up to €280 per ton of fuel.

Reducing emissions through speed reduction does have limitations because time is always a key consideration for shipping. However, full knowledge of circumstances can allow a vessel to slow down whenever necessary. For example, if adverse weather at a terminal means it cannot handle the cargo, relaying this information to the captain means he can reduce the speed. Otherwise, the vessel has to wait outside port until the weather improves. The same can also apply if the lay days and the canceling clause in a charter party allow.

 

4. Prevent accidents and ensure safety

Seakeeping helps to plan the best route, taking into consideration the dimensions, draft, and loading conditions of your vessel. In extreme weather, it’s obvious you cannot maintain the same route. The conditions are too dangerous. But what about conditions that are close to the edge. It’s a difficult decision because avoiding all adverse weather adds costs and can result in ships arriving late to port. Confidence in your weather forecast helps you make the right call at the right time.

Forecast accuracy and trust in this accuracy, are vital for decision makers. The more accurate the weather forecast is, the more confident people feel at making the tough calls. It’s only with accuracy that companies can realize the four benefits.

 

Want to know more and discover how other shipping companies are already using weather routing to gain competitive advantage?

Download our latest whitepaper: Sailing on the Edge: Improving Performance Through Optimized Weather Routing

 

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Plotting a course from A to B is not so hard; getting from A to B, while managing costs, like fuel consumption, and maintaining safety is more of a challenge.