Last Updated: Apr 2012
What is it?
Operational approaches encompass a variety of measures. The main focus from the industry over recent years, however, has been on weather and current routing technology, just in time arrival and improved cargo management (see optimistion technology).
How it works
Weather routing has been identified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and research organisations as one of several methods for achieving fuel and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reductions.
Varying weather, current, and depth conditions can affect a ship's speed.
Ocean currents are believed to have a significant impact on the fuel consumption. One study estimates that exploiting currents in the routing could reduce the annual fuel costs of the world commercial fleet on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes by $80 million [Lo, McCord, 1992].
Weather routing technology today comes in the form of computer software programs that advise vessel operators on the optimal routes with respect to weather and currents in order to minimise energy consumption on a journey.
Online web applications allow immediate update data on tidal currents, time changes, queues, and the other variables so that users could work with software that is always up to date.
Just in time arrival software is able to track a ship in real time and to tell a ship's captain to speed up or slow down to ensure there is a berth for them to unload.