(Route/freight planning and control for ocean shipping with the main run at sea).

To reduce fuel consumption and minimize CO2 emissions for ocean shipping, the ROBUST research project is developing suitable solutions by investigating and optimizing ship routes.

In cooperation with universities in Lower Saxony, such as the University of Bremen, the TU Braunschweig and the HS Osnabrück, the HILOG Institute of the HS Emden/Leer simulates route/ chartering planning and control for ocean shipping with the main route at sea.

One focus is on the savings potential resulting from the use of wind auxiliary propulsion (WZA) on cargo ships. The reduction of fuel, costs and environmentally harmful emissions during the optimization of ship
emissions when optimizing ship routes for the use of WZA.

It makes sense to plan a route so that as much wind as possible can be used to save fuel. At the same time, wind and the waves
induced waves also have a direct effect on the ship and cause additional energy requirements.

Mathematical models simulate dependencies of wind and waves

Both effects act in opposite directions and show non-linear, complex dependencies. Therefore, mathematical models and simulations were developed in the project for the estimation of the resulting effect and the influence on the fuel consumption of the ship.

To "calibrate" the models, a multipurpose freighter of the shipping company Briese in Leer was equipped with extensive measurement equipment. The measuring system
stores 64 data items, including wind, waves and propulsion power, every 10 minutes during normal operation on the world's oceans.

Within the follow-up project MariGreen, the HILOG, together with the FB Seefahrt, intends to expand the ship measurements in order to be able to derive more detailed statements about the condition of the ship systems and thus, if necessary, to develop a more efficient maintenance plan.

By means of real and historical weather data, sea transport routes can thus be planned and investigated and adjusted with regard to utilized additional wind drifts. Furthermore, the effects of waves as well as information on delivery traffic, through mathematical models and simulations, are integrated into the investigation by means of suitable measuring instruments.

Temporal uncertainties affecting the transport chains

An important aspect of the project is the planning and impact of temporal uncertainties caused by weather-related route rescheduling. Basically, weather is an element of unpredictability in maritime shipping and has a direct impact on the transport chains. Dis also applies to wind-optimized route planning in particular.

Contrary to previous expectations, however, the resulting delays do not have a negative impact on the course of the further transport of goods, as the ports and transhipment stations allow for time buffers within the transport chain.

The decisive factor is adherence to the delivery schedule, not the exact time of arrival. Research has shown that a delay of one to two days is possible without any problems if the ports are informed in good time. Only a longer delay can have a negative impact on on-carriage routes.