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Ships among windmills

Enabling sustainable shipping

The maritime industry consists of a wide variety of actors, both commercial and governmental, working together to keep the world's logistics flowing. Each of these organisations, such as ship owners, shipping agents, coast guards, authorities, service providers, ports and terminals, have a responsibility in the logistics flow, but also in minimizing their environmental footprint when operating.

For the maritime industry, which is currently going through some disruptive times, the pressure is on to act responsibly and sustainably. Shareholders, governments and industry organisations such as IMO are calling for actions to reduce the carbon footprint of ships, ports and terminals and come with guidelines and legislation to move the industry in the right direction. Initiatives such as the mandatory use of low-sulphur fuels, support of alternative fuels such as LNG, various approaches towards fuel efficiency like Just In Time (JIT) services, and even full decarbonisation of maritime transport are actions that the industry is taking in a response to these calls.

Cleaner operations through digitisation

A large focus is put these days on CO2 emissions. This makes sense, upcoming legislation especially in the EU, forces ship owners and ports to heavily reduce carbon emissions. In the long term, climate change policies will force ports to heavily invest in infrastructure works to safeguard the port and its surroundings from adverse weather conditions. Avoiding this scenario is therefore certainly in their own best interest.

But carbon dioxide is not the only product that is emitted by ships, pilot boats, tug boats, container handling equipment and trucks. Substances such as NOx, N2O, SOx and even heavy metals are being released into the air during the shipping operations. Many of these substances have a severe impact on nature, wildlife and human health. Considering that most ports are near or sometimes located in densely populated areas, it understandable that reducing the emission of these substances is a topic many actors in the shipping industry should be worried about.

Building on years of experience

It is though old news that ship’s exhaust gasses are not the cleanest on earth. Over 15 years ago, Saab already implemented an emission-monitoring tool in its Port Management system. This first version allows port authorities to calculate ship’s emissions, based on ship size, load, engine type, speed, etc. In the future Saab will progress with this functionality and provide Harbour Masters and their staff with calculated real time information on emission of ships near to and inside their port so that they can include the environmental impact as a parameter to take better-considered planning decisions.

Also, in the short term, Saab’s Port Management System can help to reduce the environmental footprint of ports. By reducing the use of paper, avoiding unnecessary vessel launches, workforce and equipment movements, and avoiding engine idling times, ports can significantly reduce their impact on the environment. The great thing about it is that in the meantime it also lowers operational costs and improves customer satisfaction.

Saab's solutions contribute strongly to the industry’s environmental objectives by planning, aligning stakeholders and actively monitoring maritime and cargo handling operations. Our systems for port management, terminal management, vessel traffic services and coastal surveillance allow the different actors to better coordinate their activities and hence contribute to a sustainable shipping industry.

Communication and data sharing are key

In an ideal world, perfect planning allows you to use available resources in an optimal way. Therefore, good planning is a pre-requisite for optimising your operations. But, planning can only be performed in case you have sufficient reliable data at your disposal. This data can be reliable vessel schedules, availability of resources, shipping manifests, weather information, etc. On the one hand, Saab’s PortControl system helps ports in making elaborated and optimal plans that include a multitude of actors. TerminalControl, on the other hand, helps terminal operators in planning their activities, assuming the optimal usage of their estate, labour and equipment. The “Fairway to Freeway” as originally brought up by Saab, has these systems connect with each other to create one single flow of data.

Take as another integration example the combination of our PortControl Port Management Information System (PMIS) with our MaritimeControl Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) system. The PMIS can take advantage of the validated real-time vessel movement data of the VTS to update the ETA calculations, while the VTS can use the extensive vessel properties information stored in the PMIS, to calculate CO2 and other emissions.

On the landside, interaction between TerminalControl and Port Management and Vehicle Booking Systems will help terminal operators in optimising berth and yard planning. This enables timely discharging and loading of vessels, as well as efficient use of workforce and equipment on the terminal. Trucking companies benefit by losing less time at the gate and terminal and so minimize engine idling times.

New technologies, including AI, are already helping in further achieving environmental goals. Until ships, trucks and handling equipment all run without the use of fossil fuels, data and real-time data sharing, are our only tools for reducing the environmental footprint of the shipping industry. Saab provides a set of high-value products that enable ports and terminals in not only monitoring but also actively controlling the impact of their activities on the environment. In this manner, Saab likes to provide its contribution to a sustainable future.

Committed to sustainability

Saab’s sustainability strategy is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through Saab’s operations, innovation partnerships and social engagement, we contribute to many of these goals. Saab has managers at the highest level dedicated to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

We promote sustainability in the broadest sense, as it is an integral part of our corporate responsibility. It covers climate action as well as issues that include anti-corruption, gender equality and education quality. Our 2020 Annual and Sustainability report discusses this in detail.

Helping you achieve sustainability goals

No matter the size of your operation, we can provide you with professional solutions to get the most out of your maritime operations and make sustainability part of the equation. Contact us for more information or visit our maritime solutions page.