New tool proven to cut bunker costs, says developer

Fleet control system aims to reduce marine fuel consumption by 5-10 percent.



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Updated on 03 Apr 2009 18:26 GMT

GAC-SMHI Weather Solutions has announced the launch of Fleetweb 3.0, the latest version of its web-based application which it says is proven to help improve fleet control and efficiency as well as reduce bunker consumption by 5-10 percent.

The web-based tool allows shipping operators to monitor and control fleet performance 24/7 in order to achieve greater operational and cost efficiency.

GAC-SMHI Weather Solutions is a strategic alliance between GAC and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), formed specially to offer a range of customized products and meteorological expertise to help global business achieve increased safety and profitability.

"Improving fleet operational and cost efficiency is a major step to managing the current economic downturn. Fleetweb 3.0 and GAC-SMHI Weather Solutions' reliable weather services are proven to help improve fleet control and efficiency as well as reduce bunker consumption by 5-10 percent," GAC said in a statement.

For example, Fleetweb helps users detect inefficient or longer routes taken by their chartered ships. Discrepancies on a Master's reported ETA compared to SMHI's calculated ETA (known as CTA) given on the basis of expected weather conditions over the next few days and other relevant parameters are also detected.

"On-going Voyage Analysis (OVA) will highlight overconsumption of fuel and time lost. This continuous flow of data allows Operations Departments to implement remedial measures in good time instead of waiting for the voyage is over, by which time such information is of little use," GAC said.

Commenting on the launch of the web-based tool, Global Product Development Manager Lennart Cederberg said "This latest version is more than just an upgrade. It is a complete makeover that overshadows previous releases. In today's challenging economic climate, this is one tool that fleet managers have been dreaming of. Fuel, time, costs and vessel life - Fleetweb 3.0 helps users maximise them all."

Accessible from virtually anywhere with an internet connection, the web-based application aims to give operators a clear and real-time overview of the entire fleet, down to the analysis of each ongoing voyage.

Fleetweb 3.0 is built on the new Microsoft Silverlight system architecture, which GAC says provides "an easy-to-use, innovative, intuitive and stable user interface that permits ultimate control over all fleet operations."

This version introduces a number of new features including:

*Voyage Management

Upon login-in, users get an instant fleet overview, thanks to the sophisticated charting system that allows fast navigation to examine the planned route, mean speed to destination and ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) calculation, etc. Through an intelligent graphical display, the intuitive alert system identifies and highlights vessels that require more attention based on changes in parameters if it stays its course.

Fleetweb's weather monitoring feature allows operators to gauge the impact of weather conditions, in real and forward time, that ships encounter along the recommended/intended route, with twice daily forecast for the next 10 days, and the Master's report is automatically evaluated in combination with the latest forecasts and analyses. This enables Captains to make optimal route planning decisions.

* Performance Reporting

The Ongoing Voyage Analysis (OVA) is a key feature which provides information relating to a specific voyage including visual voyage with weather analysis, ship and voyage date, daily reports and communications. Performance evaluation is available through a fleet performance tab which carries out a graphic performance check of individual vessels and offers comparison graphs and a graphic visualisation of each ship's speed and consumption compared to the C/P values, and the latest Master ETA versus the original ETA.

* Sat C Polling positions and AIS data

GAC SMHI is currently testing the Fleetweb feature that shows 'polled' positions, using both AIS data and Inmarsat C devices of nominated vessels to track and display their ships position in the system. This ensures that there is a regular display of ships' tracks, regardless of whether or not position reports are sent by the vessel.

* Visualisations

GAC SMHI says another advantage of the Fleetweb system is the visualization of information - readily highlighting issues and allowing prompt remedial action.

* Comprehensive Weather Solutions

Fleetweb 3.0 is part of GAC SMHI Weather Solutions, which also offers Onboard Routing System and Post Voyage Analysis (PVA) as part of its specialised portfolio of services aimed at helping vessels navigate in the safest and most economical way.