Written by Michael O’Brien, VP of Products-Shipping
Empowering digital route optimisation with human experience.
With recent technological advancements, modern weather routing promises to cut costs and decarbonise operations more efficiently than ever. But amidst algorithms, analytics and automation, the human element of weather routing is in greater demand than ever.
The methods of weather routing have undergone vast improvements since the earliest attempts to take advantage of winds and currents to find the optimum route at sea. Today, captains and onboard crews can leverage an abundance of systems and tools, data, and analytics to automatically determine the best route for ocean voyages while ensuring the safety of both the crew, vessel, and cargo.
StormGeo has been at the cutting edge of this development for decades. StormGeo’s route optimisation application, BonVoyage System (BVS), for example, has leveraged automatic route generation since its earliest version in the mid-1990s and continuously improved its capabilities over the last two decades.
Recently StormGeo pushed the evolution of voyage optimisation even further by offering a novel way to optimise fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without compromising arrival windows. This method, called Strategic Power Routing, effectively makes weather routing a vital component of any decarbonisation effort.
The key to the success of Strategic Power Routing lies in the favorable coupling of advanced algorithms and human experience.
Strategic Power Routing
An innovative optimisation algorithm is at the heart of StormGeo’s Strategic Power Routing service. The software analyzes millions of data points to understand how the weather impacts various vessel types, vessel classes, and individual vessel speeds. This speed loss data is leveraged against vessel-specific speed and consumption curves, and when combined with a constant power strategy, the result is optimised fuel consumption and reduced emissions during any voyage.
However, even with the best AI-assisted weather routing software, the decision-makers both onboard and onshore consistently rely on StormGeo’s experts when challenging weather conditions emerge.
For example, captains can change parameters affecting the calculations within the route optimisation software, but they still turn to route advisors for a thorough understanding of how these calculations work and their experience with various weather conditions.
That is why the Strategic Power Routing service also relies on the experience of expert route analysts providing global routing advice on more than 6,000 routes every month. If an individual captain sails the Atlantic eight to ten times per year, StormGeo’s individual route analysts have the experience of routing the same voyage thousands of times per year. One of the critical success factors of Strategic Power Routing is that it uses industry-leading optimisation algorithms to support, not replace, the human element.
As with all StormGeo routing services, including Strategic Power Routing, experienced route analysts evaluate every voyage and are just a phone call away, available to support captains 24/7.
Balancing Artificial and Human Intelligence.
The increasing digitalisation of weather routing holds tremendous benefits and opportunities for the shipping industry, as automation promises increased efficiency, while AI and advanced analytics enable better decision-making.
However, as shipping operations become increasingly automated and digital, captains and onboard crews should carefully balance any algorithm’s claim to absolute truth with the human capacity to provide context, intuition and experience. Human engagement is still necessary for countless decisions, and captains tend to win when artificial and human intelligence are combined for routing.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.
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