Impact Today: New standard for vessel reporting needed to boost data quality, decabonisation

A group of 14 organisations has released its new Vessel Reporting and Data Quality white paper, which calls for the maritime sector to create a new data standard aimed at evolving noon reports into holistic vessel reports to support vessel and voyage optimisation, and therefore propel industry decarbonisation.

Impact Today
Photo: Impact Today

The white paper is the result of months of collaboration between members of the working group, which was formed by ZeroNorth in March 2021.

The newly named Impact Today working group includes representatives from ZeroNorth, EuroNav, FedNav, Cargill, Q88, Teekay Tankers, Maersk Tankers, Ultrabulk, Siglar Carbon and others.

These representatives met across several workshops to define the types of vessel data that should be gathered daily from vessels, as the first step in improving ship data quality.

Representatives also discussed how the industry can ensure this data is fit for purpose and can be validated on board, effectively transitioning noon reports from a checklist exercise into holistic vessel information repositories. Evolving noon reports in this way will enable the industry to unlock better voyage and vessel optimisation outcomes, generating emissions reductions in the near-term.

To support change, Impact Today has created a framework for further development, which includes a method of standardising data to ensure it is fit for purpose and a definition of terms.

The framework also includes a method for onboard validation of vessel information spanning two levels; checks to ensure that data fits within reasonable minimums and maximums, and a method of verifying if that information makes sense within the scope of normal operations, such as power usage not exceeding power generation.

Noon reports are the most widely used form of data collection from vessels across the value chain today although sensor data is also utilised, and many companies such as Teekay Tankers are committed to digital flow meters.

The call to action outlined by Impact Today as part of the whitepaper includes conclusions on how onboard validation could benefit both vessel reports and sensor data.

Impact Today’s mission is to unlock immediate emissions reductions through partnerships and the creation of shared data standards.

In the context of shipping’s decarbonisation pathway and the power of voyage optimisation to generate immediate change, improving data quality from vessel reporting is an obvious and relatively easy challenge for the sector to solve in the near term, according to the working group.

Noon reports have also historically been time-consuming for crews, and it is widely accepted that data quality improvements are needed. Improvements to noon reports as they currently exist, via a shared data standard, would generate time efficiencies across the supply chain, cutting down the requirement for crews to deliver multiple reports to different stakeholders. A shared data standard would also come as an important statement of intent in the maturity and development of shipping’s data landscape, particularly as it relates to multilateral collaboration and partnerships to achieve decarbonisation goals.

Impact Today’s group of ship owners and operators, data specialists, emissions experts and optimisation organisations agreed that much of the data needed for vessel and voyage optimisation is already being gathered within noon reports, therefore the focus is on raising the quality.

However, some essential data is missing when it comes to bunker and emissions optimisations and reporting, especially with new CII and EEXI regulations pending and as the industry is accelerating its green transition.

“Data quality is a critical factor in underpinning voyage, vessel, bunker and emissions optimisations for vessels in the global fleet. To ensure reliable, useful output from digital platforms, it is critical that the data we collectively input is high-quality, standardised, and interoperable,” Søren Meyer, CEO of ZeroNorth, explained.

“What we have seen is that shipping currently faces a data challenge, with noon reports lacking the standardisation and sophistication needed to generate optimisation recommendations. The data landscape in our industry has changed, and reporting needs to as well. Increasing the quality of data so it is fit for purpose must, therefore, become a priority as we look ahead to decarbonisation.”

“Together, Impact Today has defined the types of data that we believe are critical to unlocking better optimisation outcomes. This white paper we are launching today calls for a new industry standard to be created for vessel reporting that will benefit the commercial performance of vessels, inform sustainability decisions, and generate better outcomes for the entire marine value chain.”

The new white paper on vessel reporting follows Impact Today’s earlier efforts to create a methodology for assessing fuel performance model accuracy within shipping. These models, like the data that is fed into them, are vital to ensuring that any optimisation decisions are based on the reality that a vessel faces while sailing at sea in a range of speeds and conditions.

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