Optimising the behind-the-scenes of harbour towing

The JV was signed aboard the training Rotortug 'RT Borkum' (Kotug) The JV was signed aboard the training Rotortug 'RT Borkum' (Kotug)
Industry Database

Towage provider Kotug International and maritime data expert Marana have formed a new venture to optimise in-port tug operations with a weather eye to the future.

Anyone witnessing the vast amount of round-the-clock activity in major ports such as Rotterdam will quickly be aware of the constant coming and going of the port’s shiphandling tugs. At the time of writing a quick non-scientific count of AIS returns of regular-service shiphandling tugs in the port revealed around 30 vessels either actively carrying out shiphandling acts or awaiting their next tasking.

It is not hard to appreciate the complexity of the background coordination and management of such operations including the need to satisfy peaks and troughs of demand along with supporting the day-to-day such as bunkering, all with the overriding pressures to maintain efficiencies and maximum utilisation. Particularly with consolidation resulting in the ‘pooling’ of tugs from different fleets, there are consequent complexities (and potential advantages) with the streamlining of operations.

Kotug and Marana have now formed a 50/50 joint venture with the name OptiPort to provide optimisation solutions for in-port vessel operations including those mentioned above. Kotug states ‘Global resources and expertise of Kotug International and the maritime data modelling and integration expertise of Marana will be combined.’

OptiPort is described as a unique and game-changing optimisation solution for the global nautical services industry and clearly with an eye to future developments in the industry, has the capability to dramatically improve dispatch operations and ‘brings autonomous sailing of tugs and bunker vessels one step closer.’

The new application is intended to dynamically cost-optimise the utilisation of assets, based on the applicable work schedule, weather and tide influences also crewing schedules. As well as actual planning capabilities it has a cloud-based reporting solution for assistance reporting and analytics (including commercial and operational analysis). The application is based on the latest developments in machine learning, data science and data analytics.

After extensive testing the first OptiPort solution is about to go live in Rotterdam described by Kotug as: ‘one of the most complex, diversified and busy ports in the world.’

Vincent van Os, managing director of Marana comments: “Our aim in Rotterdam is to achieve a significant reduction in the number of mobilization miles, subsequent fuel reduction and carbon emissions by smarter dispatching tugs to vessels.” Adding: “The dispatch solution is an applied big-data solution, which seamlessly integrates available data sources, like port management data, agency information and actual vessel positions, this integration allows us to provide the most optimal schedule for any given situation in the port.”

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