AI offers S1M saving for harbour tugs

Paul Gunton
Paul Gunton
ShipInsight

27 June 2019


Software specialists, PortX from the Netherlands and Canada-based Helm Operations have announced that they have signed a new strategic partnership agreement to combine PortX’s cutting-edge AI-based port dispatching system, OptiPort, with Helm CONNECT, the world’s leading harbour dispatching and operations software.

Already used in a number of ports around the globe, OptiPort is claimed to dramatically improve the scheduling of harbour towage operations by using artificial intelligence to optimise vessel dispatch based on crew working hours, currents, tides, vessel characteristics, fuel consumption and availability. Until now, the two say that it has been difficult for companies to manually calculate and account for these factors in a live environment. By using AI, OptiPort is able to dynamically optimise harbour schedules every three minutes, resulting in the most optimal and cost-effective dispatch schedules for any harbour or fleet.

Depending on the port, pilot studies using OptiPort have shown savings of greater than $1 million annually per port by reducing fuel consumption and crew overtime while optimising vessel dispatch to reduce chartering of third-party tugs. Together, these factors allow for savings of up to $200,000 per tug on a yearly basis.

As part of the agreement, Helm Operations will incorporate OptiPort to provide a new advanced version of its Helm CONNECT platform, which provides vessel dispatch and operations software for many of the world’s largest harbour docking fleets. Using Helm CONNECT Jobs, powered by OptiPort’s AI engine, users will receive automated suggestions on the best towing vessel, departure time and running speed based on the current schedule. This simplifies the dispatch management process, greatly reducing fuel and overtime costs while ensuring optimal schedules for harbour operators.