Case - May 3, 2021

Fleet-wide weather routing software offers environmental and safety benefits

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StormGeo and Wallenius Wilhelmsen, have partnered to install a single weather routing software solution across all Wallenius Wilhelmsen's vessels.

The software has the potential to not only predict fuel consumption but improve safety by using state-of-the-art weather and ocean currents models and forecasts to optimise a vessel’s route.

“The system can predict the speed loss from sea currents and wind and wave action throughout a voyage,” explains Geir Fagerheim, senior vice president of marine operations. “For a given arrival time, it can estimate which route will involve the least energy consumption and corresponding emissions.”

The technology enables updated route information and weather forecasts to be exchanged continuously between vessels and the meteorological operations centre, with all routing decisions then relayed back to the on-shore vessel operators through a map-based web application.

Weather routing software can help to optimise a vessel's route for improved safety and reduced fuel consumption

Weather routing software can help to optimise a vessel's route for improved safety and reduced fuel consumption

 Aside from the potential to reduce emissions, weather routing software also prioritises the safety of both crew and cargo. As Fagerheim explains, route planning is always made to avoid adverse weather, but should a vessel head towards conditions outside the set criteria – for example the maximum allowed wave height – an alert system is in place that allows the on-shore command centre to engage with the crew and agree on risk mitigation actions.

Weather routing software was first introduced to our vessels back in 2007, when multiple solutions were in place to calculate routes based on weather conditions. Today, the roll-out of a single fleet-wide solution not only improves the ease and speed of data exchange but delivers greater transparency for shore-based vessel operators who have access to real-time information.

Improving the level of transparency across our operations also delivers benefits for customers. “The digitalisation of our fleet brings visibility and predictability to our customers’ operations, as well as enabling them to reduce emissions across their own supply chains,” says Fagerheim. Certainly, continuous improvements in meteorological models combined with the advanced digital performance of our vessels mean route optimisation can now take place at a precision level that was beyond reach just a few years ago. “Moving forward, we expect these capabilities to contribute significantly to both efficiency and emissions reductions from the ships we operate,” he adds.