In a world swamped by software solutions providing various types of information and data it has become difficult to choose those tools that extract the data we actually need. Ships have been integrating these high-tech solutions at an ever growing pace, becoming more automated and reliant on technology. But what are the real benefits and how are they measured?
World Maritime News staff spoke with experts Visa Roine, Vice President of Services and Jussi Pyörre Vice President of Technology from Finland-based Eniram, a developer of intelligence –based software solutions, to find out how their tools help ship owners cut costs.
35,000t of fuel
saved by Eniram to its customers in 2013
As explained by Eniram, the data produced onboard is not being utilized to its full extent. By tapping into the unexploited data stream, substantial fuel efficiencies are enabled. By applying this concept, in 2013, Eniram managed to save 35,000 tonnes of fuel and USD 35 million to its customers.
WMN: First of all, congratulations for the recent awards! Eniram was named in May by the Cleantech Group as one of the European Cleantech companies of the decade, and earlier this week, you made it to the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 list.
What factors contributed to that and what sets you apart from other companies providing the maritime industry with energy management technology to reduce fuel consumption and emissions?
Roine: “Our approach on fuel savings is to work closely together with the customers, shipping companies, to provide them feasible solutions that are at the same time cost-worthy. In addition to collecting and presenting data, we give insight to the data itself.
So, modeling and analyzing means of saving through this insight is something that sets us apart from our colleagues in the industry.”
WMN: In your opinion, what issues related to the shipping industry need urgent tackling?
Roine: “The overall visibility of what is going on onboard the vessel is not available to the shoreside organizations and that is clearly an urgent problem at the moment. In addition to that, once you have that visibility you start identifying the needs for optimizing certain operations, whether vessel-related or related to the crew operating it.”
Pyörre: “The second thing that needs addressing would be related to the commercial segment. Companies are still struggling with profitability. Therefore, even slight changes that bring additional revenue or reduced cost make a huge difference.
Data, intelligence, analytics bring the competitive advantage that Eniram provides to this sector. It is this that provides this small but important difference, switching red numbers to black and enabling companies to become profitable.”
WMN: How was the recently launched Eniram Vessel Performance Manager received within the LNG industry?
Roine: “We are developing excellent cooperation with the LNG shipping companies. They are sharing their own insight on what kind of information they are interested in, helping us refine the product to match their needs. Therefore, the product is very well received.”
Pyörre: “The LNG sector has quite specific needs. They are carrying something totally different from the other industry players and the ships are very technologically advanced.
In order to really provide energy efficiency for this type of ships, you need to have products that are specifically designed for this purpose.
Eniram Vessel Performance Manager, which has actually been renamed Eniram Performance, is a crucial part of that. With it, we can provide onboard a holistic overview on how the ship-owners can make savings on their LNG-carrying ships.”
WMN: What are your plans for the LNG industry?
Roine: “We are going strongly with installations of our products on LNG vessels at the moment. Even though the LNG sector has been one of the last maritime sectors that we have approached, it has very quickly taken a leading role, going more toward the business intelligence than any other business sector.”
Speaking of the current projects, Roine adds that Eniram has always had a good market share in the cruise segment, and now the company is “implementing the lessons learned and the products that have worked properly in the cruise segment with other segments such containers, LNG carriers etc.”
Pyörre: “One of the ongoing projects includes Eniram Speed which has seen adoption in the cruise segment. Our customers have recognized the value of this product in terms of fuel savings. The product is being rolled out to other segments as well.
Also, with Eniram Fleet (previously called Fleet Performance Manager), we have developed some features, including provision of real time updates. Our customers now have a dashboard view of what is really going on with other ships at any moment so that they can evaluate their current tactical situation. This has become a trend now, with ever more companies that want to have this kind of visibility on their ships.”
WMN: How has the 0.1% Sulphur Directive coming into force in January, 2015 affected your operations? Is there an increase in demand for your services?
Roine: ”Yes, there is an increase in demand: Fuel being more expensive means that the operating costs are higher and it makes the return on investment for fuel saving initiatives much shorter. In addition to that, it is a feature of our Speed tool, where we are not only looking at saving fuel but saving of the monetary value of the fuel vessels use.
There are cases where we might be instructing the vessel to operate faster outside the low sulphur areas and slow down once these areas have been reached, because it may be more feasible to operate slower with the higher-priced fuel.”
WMN: New technological solutions are being introduced onboard on daily basis. Is the industry ready for the SMART Ship concept or is this concept a double-edged sword for the crew?
Roine: “The industry is ready for it, which can be seen from the growing interest from shipping companies. But operating efficiently is going to increase the workload onboard the vessels. There is a slight double-edged sword twist to it. Then again, our ideology since the day one has been that all the information we provide to the ships has to be very clear and easily usable.
When we launched the first installations with the Trim tool in 2007, one of the key factor was that, at that time, the software systems onboard vessels would have millions of numbers here and there, which was very difficult to follow. What we are trying to do is minimize the additional load to the crew.”
Pyörre continues: “Ships are not as independent as they used to be, when the crew and the captain were left to fend for themselves and had full control.
When we started to introduce the first products, the first questions from the crew were: “Is that the Big Brother, looking over our shoulder?”
The systems that we provide and which collect data, analyze and provide guidance are not there to serve as a “Big Brother”, but rather to help the crew with best practices and to improve efficiency.
When speaking about the crew and how they adapt to these systems, I have to say that the mentality has changed quite a lot during the past few years.”
WMN: What are the next steps for cutting fuel consumption?
Pyörre: “There are a number of ways to do this. I would like to stress two main areas: Most companies in the energy efficiency sector are more or less concentrating on the navigational efficiency of ships, focusing on the best speed, best route, best fuel etc.
This also includes adapting itineraries to ships within a bigger planning process, which entails a fleet-wide implementation of ship-efficiency tools not only on one ship.
On the other hand, ships like LNG carriers, reefers etc consume additional energy onboard so you have to take that into consideration and have solutions to tackle that energy consumption as well. These two aspects need to be optimized together and cannot be viewed separately.”
WMN: What can we expect in the next few years, adoption of alternative fuels or more innovative solutions?
Roine: “Actually both. The adoption of alternative fuels is something that is constantly going on and it will take some time. Big changes are not expected in the next few years.
However, in a ten-year window, we should be expecting to see significant changes on the energy fuels used to propel vessels.
On the other hand, the adaptation of technologies could optimize the operation of not only the vessels but the overall business’ operations as well.”