Finnish Wärtsilä Voyage has signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to further strengthen their collaboration in smart port innovation and digitalization, the company has announced.
The main objectives of this strategic partnership are to initiate, develop and promote innovative solutions that accelerate digitalization; foster interoperability in e-navigation and ship-to-shore secure data communications to enable port-to-port optimization, and establish reliable, cyber safe and cost-effective information exchange pathways between all ecosystem partners to increase operational efficacy.
The scope of the collaboration also covers the development and field-testing of intelligent vessel capabilities to improve interoperability of onboard and onshore systems for well-coordinated and sustainable operations.
“Together, we will work with other industry stakeholders, such as Wärtsilä’s customers whose vessels would be calling on the Port of Singapore. Subject to their consent, we will use the vessel’s nautical data to test-bed reliable and secure information exchanges using applications like Wärtsilä Navi-Port. This will help implement standard Application Programming Interfaces (API) between participating vessels and MPA’s Just-In-Time (JIT) coordination platforms in digitalPORT@SG*, and digitalOCEANS** to enable optimal arrival and departure of vessels from the port,” explained Chris Chung, Director of Digital Innovation and Strategic Projects at Wärtsilä Voyage.
In addition, Wärtsilä Voyage and MPA will assess data and cyber threats to vessels’ shipboard systems, ship-to-shore communications systems, and MPA’s JIT operations.
Increasing traffic, the pandemic, and the general unpredictability of weather conditions have acted as catalysts for ports to adopt digital technologies that help mitigate such disruptions.
“At MPA, we have been leading the development and implementation of digital port clearance technology to improve efficiency in the world’s leading hub port. This collaboration with industry partners like Wärtsilä, using its Navi-Port for Just-in-Time planning and coordination on the digitalPORT platform, further solidifies our commitment towards digitalization to support port-to-port optimization and maritime decarbonization,” said Koh Chin Yong, Chief Information Officer / Acting Director (IT), MPA.
Building the Smart Port Network
This partnership builds on Wärtsilä Voyage’s recent successes as the technology provider has already deployed Navi-Port at many other major ports worldwide, including TangerMed, Hamburg Vessel Coordination Centre (HVCC), Port of Valencia, Port of Rijeka, and Bulgarian Ports.
“Wärtsilä Voyage is a world-leader in smart port technology, having worked with leading ports on Just-in-Time implementation. With our technology that enables any connected vessel to coordinate with ports using a simple software application, we are a strong strategic partner for ports, ship owners and operators to unlock their port-to-port optimization, enabling Just-In-Time arrivals,” said Bruce Mills, Business Development Manager, Ship Traffic Control at Wärtsilä Voyage.
Wärtsilä Voyage and MPA have a long-standing relationship built with a series of commercial and R&D initiatives over the years, such as the IntelliTug Project, next-generation navigational simulator for Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety, a Ship Traffic Control Simulator, and a Full mission bridge simulator for enhancing the port’s training capabilities.
“MPA is our strategic customer and influential regulator. Signing this MoU further strengthens and elevates our relationship from a standard and traditional supplier-customer relationship and towards a deeper and long-term strategic partnership,” said Sean Fernback, President, Wärtsilä Voyage and Executive Vice President, Wärtsilä.
Singapore is the busiest transhipment hub in the world, and considering Asia has nine out of ten busiest ports in the world, this is also a crucial case that sets a precedent for other port authorities to have similar conversations.
Connected ports: a crucial link for a sustainable supply chain
“Connected ports are the nodal points in the connected maritime ecosystem that’s necessary for decongesting harbors, enabling on-time arrivals and departures, reducing anchorage time, fuel waste, and increasing sustainability of the whole supply chain. The more ports get connected, the further it’ll encourage the uptake of connected vessels among ship owners and operators, helping them optimize their operations too, cascading the positive effect on the whole shipping industry, the planet, and the people,” added Fernback.
As ship sizes and global traffic grow, congestion has become another major contributor to shipping emissions. As per industry estimates, bad planning, early arrivals, and the subsequent time spent waiting in ports mean that the industry is unnecessarily burning bunkers totaling USD 18 billion annually – that is around 160 million tons of unnecessary CO2 expelled into the air.
Better ship-to-shore coordination and shortening port stay just by 10% will give a massive reduction in fuel consumption — a big low-hanging fruit that is now being realized with the smart port technology and JIT solutions like Wärtsilä Navi-Port.