By Marek Walkiewicz, Fleet & Technical Manager
When a company provides the complete package of ship management services, having detailed data available for its entire fleet is a critical advantage. Since its founding in 1979, Sunship Schiffahrtskontor KG (Reederei M. Lauterjung GmbH) has managed every aspect of shipping, from the planning, building or purchasing of the vessels to operating, crewing, maintenance and repairs. The company even handles legal, insurance and financing matters.
To achieve the level of excellence to which the company holds itself, its 38 staff, and the 450 officers and crew members of its 30-ship fleet, Sunship needed a software support system that would streamline all of its decisions.
Sunship’s information needs were varied. To begin, each vessel needed weather software on a daily basis. In addition, as a ship owner and manager, Sunship needed to be able to plan short sea voyages and optimize deep sea routes to ensure its fleet was operating at peak efficiency. Furthermore, the company required a solution that would allow it to present its entire fleet on the map to support overall fleet decisions.
“The former weather software used within our fleet was not user-friendly,” said Marek Walkiewicz, Fleet Manager and Technical Manager for Sunship. “Also, we couldn’t properly observe each vessel’s detailed track in our office, and optimization of track is something our operations department must be able to do on a daily basis to supervise and support master decisions.”
While changing software solutions was important to the company’s success, the process was not simple. Preparing to migrate from the company’s previous software to a new solution required both structural IT changes and internal training for all of the involved team members.
The new fleet management system needed to fit into this revised structure and provide key information to each decision maker throughout the company.
“Each superintendent needed access to files -- sent daily from the vessels -- to observe vessel track,” said Walkiewicz. “The same access needed to be available to the operations department. Additionally, all masters who are visiting our office for briefing are trained in how to use the software to learn how to cooperate with our office to continually improve voyage planning in view of safety and efficiency.”
The solution to fit Sunship’s needs? StormGeo’s Fleet Decision Support System (FDSS) and Bon Voyage System (BVS). Basic access to both systems was provided to all responsible persons, both onboard and onshore.
“When we selected StormGeo as our weather software provider, we considered all of our needs. We liked BVS’ a/m functionality and the fact that it provided much better visualization than our previous solution,” said Walkiewicz.
Today, with FDSS and BVS in place, the team members at Sunship are able to make the best possible decisions for their fleet.
“We can more easily monitor vessels from each individual PC,” said Walkiewicz, “and we can optimize track from the office to give masters suggestions and advice in real-time. We can also provide easy visualization of our fleet on big screens against weather conditions.”
This combination of access, accuracy, and easy visualization of the data allows the company to improve the safety of its operations, consistently optimize efficiency, and keep every member of the decision-making chain in the loop.