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Blog: Trust as the foundation for developing maritime traffic management and control services

Published on 10.3.2023

Sea Change – VTS logbook

At Fintraffic, we are developing vessel traffic services in a way that puts the client at the centre and involves them in the problem solving right from the beginning. However, we do not see ourselves as being only client-oriented, but something even better; we see the user and the producer of our services as a person above all. This level of human-centric development can be reached through a high level of trust.

Our mission at Fintraffic’s Vessel Traffic Services is to ensure that Finland’s vessel traffic can operate safely and without incidents. It is a tremendous mission, which cannot be done alone, even by our country’s special assignment company. Nor would we want to do so, since our clients, just like our own personnel, represent the top professionals of their fields; professional seafarers and specialists of the industry, whose expertise is at the core of our work.

The modern communality and trust to the development of the transport system are built through inclusive client and stakeholder cooperation, where the representatives of the industry are diverse and participating actively.

As a maritime traffic management company, we can rely on our clients’, i.e. the shipmasters’, pilots’ and other stakeholders’ judgement in any situation. Together, we can develop even better intelligent maritime traffic services and traffic control for the Finnish seafaring, where the client-oriented approach creates a mutual course for the work as a whole.

There must be an actual need for the services

In the development of maritime traffic, we ask questions and discuss, gather comments and ask for feedback from our clients and experts, who ensure the safety of maritime traffic every day around the clock. We do not propose a complete solution and then collect the first feedback after years’ worth of changes, but instead consider potential solutions based on people’s opinions right from the beginning.

By including our clients and our own experts in the development, we can gain insight that might not otherwise emerge at all. This way we can provide jointly created and freshly validated solutions. We can be sure that our services and solutions are truly needed. At the same time, we make sure that we use our resources sensibly and efficiently.

We used these principles in the project started in September 2022, in which we observe the Finnish coastal traffic’s meeting and overtaking prohibition areas. The project was started due to the need to update the meeting and overtaking prohibition areas to ensure the safety and smoothness of traffic, which was discovered in the analysis of VTS areas’ incident reports.

In this project, we examine the areas in cooperation with the industry’s authorities as well as our stakeholders and clients. In these meetings, we investigate the suitability of the current meeting and overtaking prohibition areas, as well as the potential need for new areas. At the same time, we prepare to digitalise the material related to the meeting and overtaking prohibition areas and identify the sources where the information should be available so that it reaches the end-users as efficiently as possible.

The participants of this project include representatives of shipping companies and ports, shipmasters, pilots, ground personnel of shipping companies as well as experts from the Finnish Defence Forces, the Finnish Border Guard, Finnish Transport and Communications Agency and Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency – without forgetting the Vessel Traffic Service Operators who form the “engine” of our company with their excellent grasp of risks related to encounters and overtakings in their own VTS areas.

Mutual objective above all

We could not provide client-oriented and human-centric product and service development if our clients were not the top professionals of seafaring.

The trust between the users and providers of vessel traffic services is based on a mutual objective, which is to bring the vessel safely and smoothly to its next port. Vessel Traffic Service Operators themselves are experienced seafarers, and they are well acquainted with the decision-making process on the bridge.

Seafaring is one of the oldest industries in the world, and right this moment it is developing especially fast. The contrast between new and old is significant and interesting. However, even with all the development of automation, we emphasize that the services should benefit the people in the first place. The relationship of trust we have with the users of our fairways is unique, and it guarantees success in the future as well.

Furthermore, the report on the revision of meeting and overtaking prohibition areas along with suggestions for following measures will be completed by the end of the year 2023. Changes will be presented directly based on the individual meetings of the project.

From the digitalising heart of maritime traffic,

”Sea Change – the VTS logbook” is a blog series written by the Development Manager at Fintraffic’s Vessel Traffic Services, Master Mariner and Autonomous Maritime Operations Engineer Esa Kallio. This series discusses the topical phenomena and projects of the changing maritime traffic management and control services and the development of seafaring in a human-centric manner.