Port-to-port vessel planning



Pieter van Vrijberghe de Coningh, Director Coastal Surveillance & Security, HITT Traffic, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands


Using satellite and sensor technology to accurately predict vessels’ arrival time in the pilot area

Have you ever wondered about the following situation? You are leaving on an intercontinental flight. Thirty minutes after take-off, the estimated time of arrival at the point of destination is accurate to within two minutes. It’s a smooth ten-hour flight. What can go wrong? Any reasonable person would think that there is plenty of time to prepare the gate for arrival. So how big is your feeling of frustration when, after landing, the aircraft has to loiter 15 minutes at the gate before you can leave the plane? And I haven’t even mentioned the wait for your luggage!

In the aviation industry, the Gate-to-Gate concept is the subject of trials in Europe to find solutions to the problems of growing congestion and delays at airports. Safe and effective planning of all sub-processes is required to further optimize planning. Aircraft, like ships, have to spend as little time as possible loading and off-loading. Every event in the process must be optimized in order to minimize turnaround time.

The maritime world works with much longer transit times and slower speeds, but the Port-to-Port concept is just as complex as it is for an airport. A chain analysis of tasks related to the arrival and departure of a ship gives insight to the stakeholders involved. Factors include the type of ship, cargo and location of berth. The required steps in the process from Port-to-Port can be identified, described and analyzed for improved scheduling. Every event (job) can be described in terms of the information required to start and finish on time.

Through (satellite) AIS, LRIT and other sensors, the arrival time of ships in the pilot area is known accurately. Delays are still possible because of actual weather, but this is also predictable and allows for rescheduling. From arrival in the pilot station the logistical planning side is connected to the real-time surveillance overview. In fact, in the VTMIS system the sailing plan and route are attached automatically to the real-time system track. The arrival information and routing information can be used to fine-tune other related processes. The information can either be pushed to other planning systems or pulled via web access or reported through a portal. All these elements can be part of the e-navigation concept. The same information that is available to the shore side is also available to the bridge team onboard the vessel.


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