Photo: Boluda

Boluda aims to cut fuel consumption by 30%

Spanish tugboat operator Boluda Towage, part of Boluda Corporación Marítima, is expanding its cooperation with Dutch maritime technology company Onboard to reduce fuel consumption on a total of seventeen vessels by using data.

Boluda
Courtesy of Boluda

Beyond the five tugboats operating in the Port of Zeebrugge, the company will add two in the Port of Antwerp, two in the Port of Ghent, and eight in the Port of Hamburg. By using Onboard Platform, the company wants to cut fuel consumption by 30%.

In 2012, Boluda Towage was one of the first to operate harbor tugs with a hybrid propulsion system.

In 2020, it was the first towage company in Europe to convert an existing tugboat to comply with IMO Tier III standards. And since 2021, Boluda has been operating a tug fleet with NOx emissions cut by at least 80% per tug in the Port of Zeebrugge.

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However, as Boluda Towage continued research into greener vessels and fuels, it realized that major breakthroughs to go to zero emissions would still be years away. And because of that, even the company’s green tugs will not comply with stricter emissions regulations in the coming decades, due to the long lifespan of their vessels.

To future-proof the organization against even the most stringent possible regulation changes Boluda partnered with Onboard. Data from the Onboard Platform ensures vessels in the water today are able to be operated with efficiency.

This enables Boluda to rapidly drive down emissions in the short term, while the global fleet is undergoing a shift to zero-emission fuels in the long term.

With data from the Onboard Platform, Boluda said it builds a complete, accurate, and real-time picture of what is happening on its vessels at all times. This includes recording all job activities – towing, mobilization, pinning, waiting, idle, plus planning details, pick-up and destination locations, quay information, pilot involvement, and towing operational details such as whether a tug is operating at the bow or at stern, what equipment is used, and so on.

Combined with the measurements that are automatically collected such as fuel consumption, speed, distance traveled, track, and so on, the result is a detailed operational data set that – with the integrated analytics capabilities – can be turned into port-specific key performance indicators and operational metrics.

With Onboard, Boluda is able to do a range of tasks to help its tugs run more efficiently and reduce emissions. This includes identifying waste activities, benchmarking jobs, discovering trends and patterns, and building custom visualizations.

With these insights, the firm can provide feedback and clear instructions to its entire nautical supply chain. Additionally, the open nature of the Onboard Platform means it can be integrated with the tools that organizations already use in their day-to-day operation. For Boluda, this means it has integrated Onboard with TugVision, a system used to register towing jobs.

Boluda is seeing a decrease in fuel consumption of 20% across tugs that are outfitted with Onboard, within the first five months of operation. Following initial gains, it also expects to slash fuel consumption by a further 10%.

Based on Onboard data, Boluda is conducting research with the Port of Antwerp to identify the optimal location for a hydrogen station by analyzing heat maps of vessel movement within the port. The organization is also sharing emission data with its commercial department, since its customers are increasingly being expected to report on emissions as part of their own Scope 3 emissions reporting.

In the future, Boluda intends to purchase tugs based on these data and insights that are best designed for the layout of specific ports.

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