How trustworthy vessel and weather data help support sustainable shipping

Weather routing helps shipping companies reduce voyage costs while maintaining safety. The main priority, for weather routing, is to help vessels sail the most efficient route — not always the most direct.


Accurate and trustworthy vessel and weather data are essential for optimized weather routing, which, in turn, supports sustainable shipping. The MeteoGroup experts have explored this key theme as part of talks at shipping industry events, including NOR Shipping and Shipping Asia 2030.


How does optimized weather routing work?


After gathering all the relevant vessel and weather data, the shipping team (which includes master mariners) will work to determine the best route and the potential alternatives. They establish what each option will mean for the voyage duration, ETA and the total cost.


Then, every single day for the duration of the voyage, MeteoGroup experts recalculate the route. This approach 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.


How the experts create accurate weather data required for weather routing?


For shipping companies, accurate and reliable weather data is essential to make informed business decisions before, during, and after each voyage. These companies typically rely on routing information, which is informed by accurate forecasts and delivered by a team of experts, including professional meteorologists and master mariners.


In terms of accuracy, there are essential distinctions between freely available sources and high-quality data. This improvement is due to the combination of data sources, weather models, forecasting systems, specialists and technologies, which weather experts rely on to improve the accuracy of their forecasting.


In The Shipping Weather Forecasting Guide, the experts show precisely how the weather forecast is made - and why these highly accurate weather make such a positive difference for shipping companies.


What are the benefits of optimized weather routing?


With the help of accurate weather forecasts, ships can sail the most suitable route 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.  There are some significant opportunities for companies to save on costs and improve their sustainability.


Environmental impact


Weather routing can help save time and fuel, which means a reduction in costs. It also means lower CO2 emissions, which allows ship owners to improve their sustainability and reduce environmental impact.


Monitoring happens on a per ship and voyage basis. It covers the amount of fuel consumed and emission type for that fuel, CO2 emitted, distance traveled, cargo quantity and time spent at sea.


Live fleet monitoring, planning, and vessel optimization helps shipping companies fully comply with the EU and IMO monitoring, reporting and verification regulation. This product already provides added value to over 100 shipping companies.


Manage fuel consumption


Managing fuel consumption isn't a new trend. However, IMO 2020 comes into force next year. This fact, combined with a growing international focus on sustainable business, means it's no surprise that reducing fuel consumption remains on the agenda for the shipping industry.


IMO 2020 will come into effect on 1 January 2020, resulting in a new 0.5% global sulfur cap for marine fuels. Approximately  2.5 million barrels of low sulfur fuel will be required. Analysts estimate compliance with the regulation will add $60 billion in costs for the shipping industry.


While we can't know for sure what the cost of fuel will be next year, some predictions put the charge of 0.1% MGO as high as $900/mt. This estimate is based on increasing demand based on more ships using 0.1% MGO, and also its use in blends to make 0.5% VLSFO.


These benefits are why companies choose to work with specialist weather companies. For the shipping sector, less accurate weather data typically results in unoptimized routes, increased fuel consumption, and reduced sustainability, which can result in more costs, missed ETAs, or, in the worst case, life-threatening situations.


Average shipping companies can make decisions using data from low-cost weather vendors. But leading companies prefer using more accurate weather data in their decision-making processes.


To find out more, download The Shipping  Weather Forecasting Guide: How It’s Made


Download The Shipping Guide