Data driven optimization of marine shipping routes
The fuel consumption of a large container ship (10,000 TEUs) lies in the range of 100-150 tons per day, for a cruising speed of around 20 knots. A shipping route from Europe to China can last around 35 days and each trip has an approximate cost of 2M USD only in fuel costs. In fact, fuel costs are estimated to be 50-60% of the whole operating costs for marine transportation. Annual fuel costs for marine transport are estimated to be 120 billion USD, comparable to the GNP of many countries. Marine transport is also responsible for 3% of the global CO2 emissions and 11% of the global SO2 emissions.
Smart Shipping aims to build a complete software tool able to compute in real time the optimal route and expected fuel consumption for a specific vessel operating a route between two harbours and taking into account the oceanographic and meteorological conditions of the moment. Fuel saving could range between 2-10% if the sea currents and waves are taken into account when programming the routes
The project has a low risk and potentially huge benefits. Although some initiatives exist in the recent literature, none of them count with the resources and breadth of collaboration that we aim to put together for Smart Shipping. The project already counts with 8 researchers from 3 different countries and 5 institutions, including naval engineers, physicists, oceanographers, data scientists, mathematicians and computer engineers.