How do we optimise vessels? Gathering plenty of data is one thing. Getting useful understanding from it is much harder. And making better decisions is better still.

Optimising vessels means making better decisions about routing or speed. Or operating pumps or generators onboard in a different way, or changing the maintenance plan. Or making better decisions about ship design and equipment. It requires a model of the ship as it is, a model of the ship as it could be, and an ability to work out the difference, and whether the change is worth it.

Even predictive analytics, thought to be a ‘no brainer’ as a way to reduce maintenance costs, turns out much harder than expected – after implementing complex predictive maintenance schemes, some drilling vessel operators have found they made barely any savings or reliability improvements compared to planned maintenance programs.

Optimising vessels is ultimately about learning what works better, understanding the results of what you did, and being motivated to care. The shipping industry is not very good at any of these things.

And the 2020 fuel rules create an additional layer of complexity. Higher fuel costs mean higher incentive to cut costs. And nobody knows how much higher the fuel costs will be. Certainly vessel operations will get more expensive and improving performance will get more critical.

These are the topics we plan to tackle at the London Digital Ship Vessel Performance Optimisation event in June 2019. Do you have technologies which can help make better decision making about vessel operations, or help seafarers to continually learn? Do you have experiences with your own company optimising vessels which you are happy to talk about in public? If so we would like to hear from you.

Please contact Claire Meunier, conference producer, on claire@thedigitalship.com to discuss further