Predictive and actionable insights help berth vessels at a deep-water bulk terminal
Saqr Port, located near the Strait of Hormuz in Ras al Khaimah, is a major hub for the Middle East’s industrial supply chain, with an annual cargo capacity of more than 100 million tonnes. In 2018, operator RAK Ports expanded the port with a deep-water bulk terminal for large vessels.
However, metocean conditions proved difficult to predict, risking damage, downtime, and unsafe mooring for ships. Using Royal HaskoningDHV’s Smart Mooring software, the Harbour Master can now make more informed decisions about how and when to berth vessels, with predictive insights which use a combination of weather data and hydrodynamic calculations.
In ports, unforeseen conditions can quickly lead to dangerous outcomes. To ensure safety of navigation, harbour masters traditionally rely on a mix of manually compiled data and the gut instinct gained from decades as mariners.
Captain Michael Magee is Harbour Master at Saqr port, which is part of RAK Ports. He fulfils a role that goes back centuries – keeping port staff, visitors and vessels safe. “The conditions at the port are generally pretty good. For 90% of our days, we see great weather, but it’s that 10% where we really need help,” he explained. “When injuries happen at ports, it’s often during mooring operations [60% of them, according to the European Harbour Masters’ Committee]. Bad weather makes everything harder, too.”
He added, “We have facilities in place to understand how conditions are changing at our port – but going through that data and processing it manually is difficult and time-consuming work, compounded by the fact it has to be timely to be effective.”
Captain Magee was therefore looking for smarter, safer and more efficient methods by leveraging engineering expertise and technology.
Twinn’s smart mooring solution actively warns port operators of unsafe situations for moored ships. It does this by combining port and metocean data to predict mooring forces and ship motions days in advance. Harbour masters get a live port overview and can immediately see which berths are safe, critical or unsafe.
“This tool was created by data analysts and engineers, but it’s made for everyday port staff,” said Bas van Son, Twinn’s Head of Maritime and Logistics. “It gives them information they need, at a glance, without having to be experienced in complex algorithms or analysis.”
“It’s a comfort to us Harbour Masters,” Captain Magee agreed. “Having something that can cut through the data and give us actionable insights day to day allows us to make decisions at the optimum time to reduce downtime and keep our port moving.”