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Rahtialus satamassa

Maritime data economy progressing: a shared dataspace as the solution for communicating port stay data

Published on 4.5.2023

How could cargo vessels schedule their arrival at a port’s newly freed up berth in as timely a manner as possible? How could more accurate timetables for unloading a cargo vessel arriving at a port be provided to different port operators? How could the operation of the entire logistics chain be made more efficient and optimised with a more comprehensive situational picture? The newly launched Fintraffic Maritime DataSpace project has begun searching for answers to these questions, and it will lay a foundation for a shared port stay data communication service.

For the first time in Finland, Fintraffic's Vessel Traffic Services has started investigating the utilisation of dataspace architecture in the communication of information between different maritime logistics actors so that information related to port stays can be communicated between different actors in a transparent, reliable manner and based on common rules.

Finland is well placed to further develop data exchange between different actors in maritime logistics, as maritime and port logistics has strong evidence of many data-driven services in which the real-time sharing of time data and opening of interfaces has made the different functions of an individual port and a vessel arriving there more efficient. The objective of our Maritime DataSpace project is now to expand the communication of information related to port stays for use by several operators using a shared data communication service, says Project Manager Olli Soininen from Fintraffic's Vessel Traffic Services.

During this year, Fintraffic's Maritime DataSpace project will implement specifications for data communication service solutions that will ensure the secure, transparent and common rules-based communication of data. During this year, the project also intends to test the solution model with a pilot implementation of the scheduling of two different port stays.

The port stay data communication system utilises completed information and situational awareness models

There are many factors behind a well-functioning logistics chain. One of the most significant is timetable data that is as accurate as possible, which combines maritime and land cargo at the port into efficient transport chains. In fact, the Maritime DataSpace research project utilises the "Just in Time Port Arrival" and "Virtual Port Arrival" operating models to enhance and optimise the arrival of vessels at ports and their departure from ports, while reducing fuel costs and CO2 emissions from vessels.

Just in Time Port Arrival means that a vessel arrives at the port at the right time, as planned, just before loading or unloading begins. The operating model is based on real-time information exchange between the vessel, port and other stakeholders, which enables efficient scheduling and smooth traffic.

The basic idea of the Virtual Port Arrival operating model is to provide information to vessels if there is no berth available at the port at the planned time. In this case, the vessel can slow down its speed and aim its arrival to the time when a berth will be available. A vessel acknowledges its berth reservation to the port virtually in accordance with its name, in which case it is known that the vessel is arriving at the port after the berth is made available and the vessel is normally in the service queue. The model generates clear savings in fuel costs and CO2 emissions for vessels, allowing them to optimise their speed based on the actual availability of the berth.

The benefits brought about by both operating models largely depend on the type of sea freight transport, and the benefits are greatest for tramping. Faster turnaround times, shorter waiting times and lower fuel costs and CO2 emissions result in computationally significant savings for terminal operators, ports, cargo and vessel owners, explains Olli Soininen.

The Fintraffic Maritime DataSpace project is funded by Sitra, and the project will be taken forward as part of the development of NEMO, the national Port Call Time Stamp and Estimation Service. Fintraffic's partners in the project include Siili Solutions and, who are responsible for technological development. The shipping companies involved in the project are ESL Shipping and E&S Tankers. The project pilot will be carried out at the Port of Oxelösund. Fintraffic's role is to act as the project’s dataspace operator. The project will last until the end of 2023.

Fintraffic's Vessel Traffic Services maintains and develops one of the world's most extensive maritime traffic control and management systems and promotes the new service models needed for automated maritime traffic, including information and situational awareness services as well as remote vessel control and support for remote pilotage. NEMO, the Port Call Time Stamp and Estimation Service and Port Activity, i.e. the port application are examples of Fintraffic's key development projects that utilise digitalisation of Vessel Traffic Services extensively, and which we use with the aim of ensuring the competitiveness of Finnish shipping and the emergence of intelligent maritime traffic and to actively promote the development of transport ecosystems both nationally and internationally.