New tool promises to cut chart and publications costs

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche

08 October 2018

UK-based GNS, a leading maritime technology company, has unveiled the latest milestone in its long term programme to improve how shipowners buy and use navigation and vessel data for operations and compliance. By using its new Voyager FLEET INSIGHT (VFI) tool, GNS believes owners can finally stop wasting money on un-used navigation data and take real control of vessel performance and compliance.

GNS has been supplying charts and publications to ships and managing their portfolios for many years and supplies both traditional paper products, ENCs and electronic publications. Voyager FLEET INSIGHT is the culmination of four years of data collection and analysis that is now available to give ship owners and managers the ability to see for the first time exactly what navigation data they are buying, how much they should be paying, where they are wasting their money and where the gaps exist.

The data collected includes vessel positions drawn from AIS and other sources and portfolio data for GNS customers. Analysis of the data for its customer base has shown that there is between 30% and 70% overbuying of chart products. This is mostly due to navigators renewing products in their onboard portfolios regardless of whether they are actually being used or not.

“This is data that owners and managers say they want at their fingertips, but its volume and complexity make it difficult to draw together in a single application to provide effective fleet management tools,” says GNS CEO Paul Stanley. “At GNS, we have been using this data in customer workshops for the last two years to take buyers through the detail of what they are spending and where they can save money - the results are startling.”

VFI’s navigation management functionality has been designed to revolutionise how navigational products are bought, managed and used. The service gives shipping companies complete transparency in terms of the ENCs, paper charts and nautical publications their vessels need, how much they should be paying for them and - for the first time - how much money they may be wasting by buying products they don’t need.

“The levels of un-needed expenditure on navigation data we see is very significant and the gaps that our data identifies provide a real opportunity to improve index compliance,” adds Stanley. “Too often shipping companies lack real-time access to all the navigation, position and voyage data they need in an easy to use format.”

VFI provides multiple levels of vessel operational functionality. Owners can use it for vessel tracking, monitoring sailing times to estimate more accurate operating costs, build in Port State Control data into KPI monitoring, or track progress against charter party terms by overlaying the approved route on the vessel track.

The service maintains up-to-date lists of the technical library publications required by each vessel’s Flag State, SIRE vetting and other key stakeholders, and enables marine and HSQE managers to take action to close any gaps in vessel inventories. It also provides global Port State Control inspection histories for all vessels to make it easier to monitor and measure actual compliance against KPI performance.

VFI includes a vessel tracking feature enabling users to view historical data going back to 2015 which provides both a record of trading as well as being a tool for shore-side incident management. Vessel port call history, anchorage times and sea hours data all have application in operational planning, forecasting and budget management.

“When users need to compile yearly operating costs for a vessel, VFI’s sea hours and port call data enable variable cost elements such as port fees, bunkers and lubricants to be more accurately calculated,” says Stanley. “Being able to easily see how much time a vessel has spent steaming and at anchor helps marine managers to identify and plan maintenance in a timely way.”

Shipping companies do not have to be GNS customers to benefit from VFI – the service is available to all operators globally. It is competitively priced and ideal for all companies looking to get a grip on big data and analytics, reduce navigational costs and enhance compliance management without the need to invest in the development of costly in-house systems.