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Digital transformation optimises supply vessel efficiency, saving costs and safeguarding the environment

Project Summary

NZTC worked with the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) on a digital transformation project which aimed to develop a data sharing, collaborative system, along with optimisation algorithms, to improve the efficiency and use of supply vessels.

The transportation of equipment by vessels accounts for almost 10% of £10bn total operating costs in the UKCS. By increasing utilisation through the use of digital technology and insights from data, there is an opportunity to significantly reduce the cost of marine logistic operations.

A feasibility study was undertaken to look at potential efficiencies within the process. Key to this was determining the levers that could lead to greater vessel logistics coordination, as well as understanding the constraints that determine the number of vessel trips from harbour to offshore facilities (both static and mobile).

Industry Value:
Similar approaches and systems have been developed in other industries to optimise logistics. There is potential to reduce marine vessel trips, therefore reducing costs. In addition to this, non-productive time (NPT) could also be significantly reduced.

Savings in the order of 20-25% in vessel days could be achieved if there are no operational restrictions. Vessel sharing could realise further savings of 5-10%.

Modelling indicated that around 50% of the vessel trips would need to be shared between operators. This is significantly higher than the current 13% observed.

Key results:
Phase one of the project determined the constraints to logistic vessel trip optimisation, with the aim of providing data that will enable collaboration and vessel trip optimisation – not only reducing costs, but also contributing to environmental benefits.

Modelling indicated that around 50% of the vessel trips would need to be shared between operators. This is significantly higher than the current level of 13%.

Lessons learned:
The report recommended that the industry collaborates to develop software that can model:

  • supply of expected demand to illuminate options to optimise delivery;
  • different vessel sharing options so that operators can make the best choices;
  • the balance between long-term hire commitments versus short-term spot hires for various demand scenarios, to allow optimisation.

In addition to modelling capabilities, the software would also:

  • publish available deck space to facilitate vessel sharing opportunities;
  • collect and update anonymised data so that operators can use it to judge performance.

The project aimed to quantify areas of logistics vessel trip inefficiencies which will help to define the ‘size of the collaboration prize’ and areas for potential vessel logistics optimisation.

A Logistics Task Finish Group was subsequently established to develop a forward vision for the industry. They published results of case studies to increase awareness of capability and help coordinate collaborative efforts. This group helped define and initiate phase two of the project.

NZTC has continued to support marine logistics optimisation, in particular, supporting the phase two project development of Plansea Solutions’ revolutionary technology which has the potential to significantly reduce the number of vessels days.


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