NYK Unveils Digital Berthing Solution


Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has announced the development of a smart system for assisted vessel berthing, which was created in partnership with NYK Group companies MTI Co. Ltd. and Japan Marine Science (JMS).

The new solution, according to a statement, will assess a vessel’s controllability and visualize berthing risks ahead of time, enabling operators to eliminate accidents before they happen.

For ships berthing at a terminal, there are guidelines in place which detail the exact reduction in ship speed required as distance to wharf decreases.

Yang Zhou and Xavier Bellsolà Olba discuss the importance of safety and nautical traffic in a recent Port Technology technical paper

In addition to this, the crew of an incoming ship must also take wind and tidal information into account as they approach, as well as providing instructions to local tugboats.

In order to make this process safe and efficient, a ship operator must compile a large amount of information from around the vessel and communicate with a number of related personnel, a heavy workload which can often lead to mistakes and accidents.


A photo taken during one trial of the assisted berthing system (Credit: NYK)


NYK’s software analyses much of the same information which the vessel operator is required to be aware of, including distance to the wharf, ship speed and weather data.

Once this data is compiled by the system, the ship operator can use a tablet to confirm the relative position and approach speed of the vessel, as well managing any risk of accidents.

Maxim A. Dulebenets discusses the importance of optimising berth schedules for sustainable shipping in a recent Port Technology technical paper

The Japanese shipping company has stated that it will introduce the new system to its managed ships gradually, following a number of successful trials on actual vessels.

A further statement from NYK read: “The technology used in this system is expected to be applied to the automatic shore-arriving system for manned autonomous ships that the NYK Group has been working to implement.

“In accordance with its medium-term management plan “Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green,” the NYK Group will continue to proactively promote digitalization in the pursuit of safe operation and new value.”

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