25 Jun 2019
Jonathan Cheng
Marketing Manager


PortX AI port dispatching

New AI-assisted vessel dispatching tool could save operators more than US$1m per port.

PortX (Rotterdam, Netherlands) and Helm Operations (Victoria, BC, Canada) announced that they have signed a new strategic partnership agreement to combine PortX’s cutting-edge AI-based port dispatching system, OptiPort, with Helm CONNECT, the world’s leading harbor dispatching and operations software.

Already used in a number of ports around the globe, like Port Hedland, OptiPort dramatically improves the scheduling of harbour towage operations by using artificial intelligence to optimize vessel dispatch based on crew working hours, currents, tides, vessel characteristics, fuel consumption, and availability. Until now, it has been difficult for companies to manually calculate and account for these factors in a live environment. By using AI, OptiPort is able to dynamically optimize harbor schedules every three minutes, resulting in the most optimal and cost-effective dispatch schedules for any harbor or fleet.

Depending on the port, pilot studies using OptiPort have shown savings of greater than US$1 million annually per port by reducing fuel consumption and crew overtime while optimizing vessel dispatch to reduce chartering of third-party tugs. Together, these factors allow for a savings of up to US$200,000 per tug on a yearly basis.

As part of the agreement, Helm Operations will incorporate OptiPort to provide a new advanced version of its Helm CONNECT platform, which provides vessel dispatch and operations software for many of the world’s largest harbor docking fleets. Using Helm CONNECT Jobs, powered by OptiPort’s AI engine, users will receive automated suggestions on the best towing vessel, departure time, and running speed based on the current schedule. This simplifies the dispatch management process and greatly reduces fuel costs and overtime costs while ensuring the optimal schedule for harbor operators.

Vincent van Os, managing director of PortX: “Helm Operations is the world leader in harbor dispatch and billing software. By combining our OptiPort Dynamic Port Asset Optimization software with Helm CONNECT, we can help dispatchers and harbor operators around the world make better decisions on the use of their fleet. With the integration work that we have done with Helm, implementation of OptiPort can be done extremely quickly, without adding additional hardware on the vessels or the dispatch control room. This leads to real cost savings that can improve operators’ bottom lines almost immediately upon implementation.”

Ron deBruyne, CEO of Helm Operations: “We’ve been incredibly impressed by the cost savings offered by OptiPort. We’ve seen the benefits of AI-driven technology first-hand and believe that this is a major step forward for the industry. Our team has helped implement advanced dispatching systems for many of the world’s leading harbor docking companies, and we’re eager to enable our customers to successfully realize the cost savings that OptiPort can provide. From initial planning to long-term success, we’re ready to help our customers achieve more.”