The applications of SpaceNav for cargo transport include fuel and emission reduction, sailing time optimization, and asset preservation and maintenance cost reduction.
Fuel prices for maritime transport are now from 20% up to 60% of total operational vessel costs in yearly averages, but with very significant and unpredictable variations that can cause severe financial impacts to the industry. SpaceNav is achieving a significant fuel reduction in the operation of a ship due to the improved and accurate sail plans that are updated in real time. In effect, a virtual ship-specific IT centre continuously calculates the optimal sail heading and speed for each ship, based on the most up-to-date Earth observation data and numerous numerical models.
Similarly, the emission of CO2 and other pollutants (such as sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter) can be reduced, resulting in less pollution along major trade routes and coastal areas. In particular, it allows the ship operator to become aware of the actual ship pollution and thereby provides means to comply with environmental regulations at any given geographical location.
SpaceNav makes it possible to optimize the sail plan according to operational requirements, such as port slot times, channel passing slots (Suez or Panama channel) and tide schedules (for instance, a VLCC needs high tide to enter and leave the port of Rotterdam).
Traditionally, sea masters give a 10% time margin over the journey to ensure a timely arrival at their destination due to various risks, in particular uncertainty in the weather forecasts and sea state conditions. This causes large overheads as typically the ship operates at very low speed during the last hours of a journey. With a more accurate sail plan based on real-time weather and sea state observations, time margins can be greatly reduced.
The life expectancy of a commercial ship depends to a large extent on the stress the ship (and especially the hull of the ship) is experiencing at sea. Commercial ships are designed for a life expectancy of around 30 years. This can only be achieved with extensive maintenance of the hull according to the stress it encounters. Due to the fact that it is unknown today what the actual encountered stress of the ship is, maintenance cycles are based on regular intervals disregarding the actual need for maintenance. This can lead to serious safety issues. On the other hand, with the appropriate observational data and fatigue models, maintenance cycles can be significantly optimized to an 'as needed basis'. Furthermore, an explicit reduction of the exposure to heavy sea can significantly extend the life expectancy of the ship asset.