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Major bulk owners enhancing voyage optimization capabilities with Sofar

Major bulk owners enhancing voyage optimization capabilities with Sofar

(Posted on 13/04/23)

Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk, two of the largest and best performing dry bulk carriers in the world, have a strong reputation as industry innovators. The carriers recently adopted Sofar’s Wayfinder platform to optimize voyages and reduce emissions across their fleets. Both shipowners chose to partner with Sofar after a comprehensive technical evaluation of multiple competitive products, identifying Wayfinder’s superior weather forecasts, highly accurate AdaptiveVPM, and continuously optimized voyage guidance as key differentiators.

Given the International Maritime Organization’s aim to decrease the shipping industry’s emissions by as much as 70% by 2050, Wayfinder customers and others across maritime shipping are more eager than ever to operationalize strategies that drive decarbonization in the immediate term. As established leaders in the industry, Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk are long-standing proponents of voyage optimization as a strategy to reduce emissions today.

“Star Bulk has been focusing on voyage optimization for several years to minimize our costs and reduce emissions, and we are always on the look-out for new products that use advanced technologies,” said George Mantalos, Energy Efficiency Director at Star Bulk.

Way?nder will catalyze Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk’s efforts by continuously searching for the most efficient route for all vessels on the platform. An optimized route can decrease a vessel’s exposure to inclement weather, reduce its fuel consumption, and lower its emissions output. Way?nder customers see an average of 3-5% fuel and time savings per voyage and annual fleetwide emissions reductions of tens of thousands of metric tonnes of CO2.

Access to real-time data and highly accurate forecasts are key differentiators as climate change makes ocean weather more extreme.

Way?nder’s optimization advantage starts with its enhanced weather forecasts. Whereas most platforms simply use government models as the foundation for their forecasts, Sofar augments these models by assimilating 200,000 real-time ocean observations captured by our global Spotter buoy network each day. These forecasts outperform government models by 40-50%.

Sofar’s superior forecasts were a key decision criteria for Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk. Both carriers recognized the value in providing Captains and Operators with voyage guidance built on real-time data collected along a vessel’s route. Ground truth observations translate to more trustworthy route guidance, representing an opportunity to ensure the safety of the crew and cargo in increasingly severe ocean weather conditions driven by climate change. Real-time data also improves Operators’ ability to predict the impact of individual routing decisions and to optimize the commercial

outcomes of every voyage.

“What we like about Sofar’s services is that they use a large network of ocean weather sensors to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting,” said Mantalos. “We expect that this should allow us to further optimize our ?eet’s routes and speeds.”

Wafinder’s vessel performance models and optimization engine power superior daily voyage guidance

The predictive power of Wayfinder’s AdaptiveVPM was another technical motivation behind Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk’s decision to implement the platform. The hybrid physics and data-driven vessel performance model, custom-tuned for every vessel, predicts ship speed and fuel consumption across all sea states with a high degree of accuracy. On average, Way?nder produces speed predictions within 0.5 knots and fuel consumption predictions within 2% of metric tons consumed.

Wayfinder’s optimization engine couples these predictions with highly accurate weather forecasts to calculate hundreds of millions of route options before sending daily waypoint and RPM recommendations. This proactive and continuous guidance accounts for the latest weather, market factors, and operational constraints, further distinguishing Wayfinder from alternatives and ensuring Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk’s vessels are always on the most e?cient route.

“Eagle Bulk has a track record for leveraging data to make the best decisions,” said Jonathan Dowsett, Director of Fleet Performance at Eagle Bulk. “Sofar Ocean’s real-time sensor-derived ocean data allows our onboard and shoreside teams to dynamically optimize speed and routing decisions with safety, cost, and emissions bene?ts.”

Climate technology will continue to play a key role in maritime shipping’s green transition. Sofar is actively working with Star Bulk, Eagle Bulk, and other customers to add expanded emissions tracking capabilities to the platform, including new CII optimization tools.

For Sofar Ocean co-founder and CEO Tim Janssen, Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk’s commitments validate Sofar’s science-based and data-driven approach to helping the shipping industry meet its sustainability goals.

“For this massive sector of the world economy to decarbonize, shipping companies will need access to reliable ocean information,” said Janssen. “This is our focus at Sofar Ocean. We collect ocean data at a planetary scale and use it to produce the most accurate weather forecasts to catalyze maritime solutions that preserve ocean health. Our partnerships with Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk further this mission and we look forward to empowering them, and the shipping industry at-large, to reduce emissions using our Wayfinder platform.”

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