How SPOS & FleetGuard help balance safety and efficiency for TORM
Sailing the optimal route is a balancing act. Choose routes that avoid entirely heavy weather, and it results in longer, less efficient voyages. However, sailing too close to the edge is a safety risk for the crew, vessels, and cargo.
It’s a scenario that leading pure-play product tanker company TORM knows well. As a highly experienced shipping company (TORM celebrated its 130th anniversary at the start of 2019), it’s very familiar with keeping the balance between operational efficiency and safety. Both safety and performance are two of the core tenets of TORM’s leadership philosophy.
Maintaining core values, even in severe weather conditions
When Storm Dorian hit the Bahamas, the widespread damage caused by the category five storm was reported around the world. Powerful winds, rain, and surges of seawater caused by the category five storm pummeled the islands for three days as it slowly edged towards the Bahamas.
At the time, some TORM vessels were in the region, transporting customer consignment worth millions. The company thrives on data, relying on data-driven methodologies for its shipping routing operations.
SPOS, the real-time onboard route optimization solution, triggered warmings of high winds (over 100mph/ 160km/h) and storm surges to affected vessels in the TORM fleet. As a result of Dorian, weather routing decisions needed to be made to maintain safety and minimizing the impact of efficiency.
When severe weather conditions strike, one of the biggest challenges for project operations teams is seasoned seafarers choosing to use their jurisdiction to override decisions. Captains rely on their instincts and opt for longer, less efficient routes, despite the availability of optimum routes for the conditions.
Supporting both onboard and onshore teams
TORM uses both SPOS and FleetGuard, which monitors and improves fleet performance with aggregated weather data and routing insight. This joined-up approach means TORM can effectively feed valuable insight to seafarers. Onboard, SPOS allows captains to see routing information firsthand. As a result, they can make informed Go or NO Go decisions on the route. At the same time, FleetGuard aids the project operations team onshore to support onboard teams, by navigating the seafarer back to the optimum sea route.
Routing decisions are not down to one person; they’re created and supports by a united TORM team. Different teams input into the systems to ensure voyages are both efficient and safe. The operations team put the numbers into the system; the commercial team will check on the financial aspect. Technical experts will check on routes, and they can check on the expected route that the captain take, and route taken by the seafarer.
Recognizing the input of experts
As experts in shipping, TORM is not afraid to recognize the valuable input of experts in other fields. Lajos Holmslykke, Performance Manager at TORM, recognizes the importance of meteorological expertise in routing decisions. He says: “If one captain is making 7-8 voyages in a year and has a life expectancy of 30 years’ experience, he is not wise. Meteorologist support 6-8 vessels in a day and work every day with different seafarers, meaning they have over 220 years of experience. So, extensive knowledge always adds value in the decision-making process”.
Optimized routes = valuable savings
For TORM, this approach to weather routing has resulted in a 10% saving over at least 50% of all voyages. In terms of number, pacific and Atlantic TORM has five sailings per week. They can save 10% over-all per sailing minimum by opting for an optimum sea route on those sailings especially when encountering bad weather.
If one captain is making 7-8 voyages in a year and has a life expectancy of 30 years’ experience, he is not wise. Meteorologist support 6-8 vessels in a day and work every day with different seafarers, meaning they have over 220 years of experience. So, extensive knowledge always adds value in the decision-making process