Coordinating tug and ship activity in Hamburg

'ZP Bison' is an example of Kotug Smit's modern fleet (Kotug) 'ZP Bison' is an example of Kotug Smit's modern fleet (Kotug)

Hamburg Vessel Coordination Centre (HVCC) and Kotug Smit Towage are to work together to optimise the efficiency and quality of shiphandling activities in the Port of Rotterdam.

From when a ship such as a large container vessel first plans its arrival at a port to when it sails various service providers become involved. There are the obvious port authority and terminal operator but others including; pilotage, mooring teams, agents, bunker and provisions providers along with regulatory authorities will all need to coordinate their own individual planning for the visit.

Towage services are a vital cog in this big wheel and access to data and transparency of information are vital for coordinating operations in as efficient manner as possible, particularly in large ports where multiple shiphandling operations involving strategic positioning of tugs are happening at the same time.

Kotug Smit operate five tugs in Hamburg and its inclusion in HVCC’s partner portfolio with access to a comprehensive network and data exchange including weather, water levels and tides will offer potential for increased efficiency. The direct communication channel will improve reaction times with schedule changes along with resource planning for operational deployment, particularly during peak traffic periods.

Tug crews’ rest period planning will be improved including sending tugs directly from one assignment to the next reducing fuel consumption as routes can be more efficiently coordinated.

HVCC signed a cooperation agreement with Port of Rotterdam Authority recently to exchange data directly including planned and actual arrival and departure times. There are obvious potential gains here as many liner-service container vessels include Rotterdam and Hamburg with a sailing time of around 24 hours as consecutive calls in their north west European rotation schedule.

Digitisation and the gathering of increasing amounts of data is a hot topic in the shipping industry in general as highlighted by Eva Beykirch, general manager of Kotug Smit in Germany who commented: “Kotug Smit Towage and HVCC have had a constructive exchange for some time now. We are particularly pleased to be joining forces on this pilot project. Progressive digitisation is the way of the future, and with this comprehensive information platform, we expect to see improvements in tug capacity utilisation, as well as even more efficient route and operational planning on board the tugs.”

By Peter Barker

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