US Coast Guard and shipping industry officials say they are open to a broader discussion of the regulations and level of oversight in the shipping industry as port traffic increases. Making those rules more similar to those for other modes of transportation is complicated because conditions on the water can change quickly.
“We see the people who are best equipped to take action to prevent a casualty are the men and women who are operating those vessels using the tools that have been provided to them,” -Jennifer Carpenter, American Waterways Operators.
These new regulations have been in the works for years for towing vessels. These vessels will finally have better tools. However, the broader discussion should be around how you leverage all the data from across the port region to optimize how all these vessels and terminals interact. The changes discussed are only going to provide better visibility between vessels and waterway users, but will not reduce the traffic. As port traffic increases, there will be a need to better manage the flow of that traffic and the current Coast Guard VTS system does not have a way to analytically take in all the collaborative scheduling data from terminals to provide recommended vessel rotations between multiple docks.
Incorporating dock schedule data from port terminals would greatly increase efficiency and reduce unnecessary transits. That will result in reduced fuel consumption, and fewer opportunities for vessels to collide and close the waterway. That means reduced operating costs, reduced emissions, and lower demurrage claims.
PortVision has been involved in such industry initiatives since our founding in 2006. In fact, PortVision was born out of such an initiative in the Sabine-Neches waterway in Southeast Texas. In 2006, major terminals along that waterway came together to launch an industry initiative to improve efficiency and reduce demurrage. Now, eight years later (and after millions of dollars in documented savings), over 200 industry stakeholders use PortVision along the Sabine-Neches to improve collaboration, enhance safety and efficiency, and do business better.
PortVision continues to seek opportunities to apply technology to industry collaborations that improve the maritime domain. To that effect, we launched PortVision Connect, an industry grant program that provides software and labor to support individual regional initiatives. You can learn more about PortVision Connect here.