18 Apr 2017

Reading time 4 min

Take a peek into your cargo system’s productivity

Advanced computer analysis gives operators a clear visual insight into how their vessels are actually performing; with this information they can act to improve productivity and maximise profits

Today’s narrow margins mean that it is more important than ever to reduce operational inefficiencies for better long-term profitability; an area that should be under scrutiny is non-utilised cargo space.

MacGregor is able to offer shipowners and operators a clear graphic analysis to show how cargo spaces on their vessels are being used. It is inviting interested parties to be part of piloting advanced computer modelling software that will give very specific data into how their vessels are performing in reality and how to utilise the cargo space for better business prospects.

Getting a better insight

“Optimised utilisation of a container ship’s cargo carrying capacity is crucial in this market,” says Henri Paukku, Operation Support Manager, MacGregor Customer Solutions. “Routes are being streamlined and freight cost structure remains challenging. To differentiate themselves, operators are focusing on better schedule reliability and faster sailing times. But how can these operators get a quick grasp of how efficiently the cargo spaces on their ships are actually being used?

“As a part of MacGregor’s commitment to improving our customers’ businesses through cargo system efficiency, our aim is to provide a simple visualisation of how well the ship is being loaded and what is possibly limiting cargo intake,” notes Mr Paukku. “It would be valuable to look at a greater number of test cases, so we would be interested to hear from operators that would like a closer look at their cargo system efficiency.

“Currently, we can show how close a ship is to reaching its maximum utilisation rate,” he explains. “Elements such as slot capacity, displacement, stability issues, lashing forces, stack weights, lashings or container corner forces can now be displayed as a clear 3D-interface, which can be rotated and viewed from all angles.

“MacGregor’s web-based graphic window provides a whole new perspective, enabling an owner to monitor and better understand how a ship’s cargo areas are used and maximise the potential for long-term improvement of cargo system productivity. A vessel’s crew can see whether there are areas where the lashing or stacking limitations are close to their upper limits. We also aim to include clear acceleration limits such as rolling period and rolling angle for each loading scenario.

“The system allows an operator to have a quick visual understanding of the implications of different loading scenarios,” adds Mr Paukku. “It can be applied to more than one vessel and enables an owner to compare vessels within a fleet to show areas where improvements on less well-performing vessels can be made. It also gives you a better view to see what parts of the ship’s cargo system actually limit its loading capacity.”

Essential data analysis

The visualisation technology is used to produce a graphic so that each loading can be seen at a glance. Baplie files, sailing condition reports and other data can be put into the system manually or retrieved automatically from a ship’s data log, depending on the configuration of its digital setup. Baplie data files are an essential element of the analysis. They are used to transmit information about all cargo-occupied spaces on board a vessel between the vessel, the terminal operator and the shipowner. The files indicate what is loaded on board the ship and where.

Our aim is to provide a simple visualisation of how well the ship is being loaded and what is possibly limiting cargo intake

– Henri Paukku

Based on these files, MacGregor can define a ship’s cargo profile, which is essentially the distribution of containers on board a ship in terms of container sizes and container weights in relation to a particular route. The final Baplie files can also be used to determine the ship’s maximum capacity on a certain trade.

“Despite the plethora of digital marine applications emerging, we realise that there are still a number of open questions relating to this kind of analysis,” he says. “What is the most effective way of integrating this type of application into a vessel’s information architecture? Which areas could be consolidated? Whatever the setup, our solutions will be compatible with the ship’s loading computer and match its routes and cargoes.”

Focused service support

Access to this computer modelling service is via MacGregor’s Productivity Care programme, which is part of MacGregor’s PlusPartner concept. It is a focused service designed to support customers by helping them to make the most of their vessel’s productivity potential created by a MacGregor PlusPartner design. It is available for newbuildings, vessel upgrades and as an independent service.

Productivity Care ensures that customers can verify cargo space utilisation and monitor a ship’s long-term performance. For example over five years it will see how productivity is affected by issues such as route-specific rules or cargo route fluctuations, due to changes in production and market location, enabling targeted long-term productivity improvement.

“With the analysis there is no guesswork. Corrective measures can only be taken if the owner or operator can clearly identify where the bottlenecks are, and that is exactly where Productivity Care steps in.

“Being able to give operators a better productivity insight into how specific ships are performing in practice, not only makes good commercial sense, it also moves us towards a less wasteful and more sustainable industry,” concludes Mr Paukku.