OrbitMI, the US-based software firm which was spun off from Stena Bulk in 2019 after developing a fleet-performance system for the tanker owner, has launched an automated routeing solution with weather data group DTN.

The system being used by Stena Bulk and trialled by other companies, will provide weather routeing by speed, time and cost parameters for tankers and dry bulk vessels, with options such as earnings and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) under development.

Meteorologist and DTN vice president, global commercial Renny Vandewege said climate change is causing issues for shipping with sea levels rising, more intense precipitation and tropical cyclones, and bigger and more powerful waves.

These impacts affect vessel efficiency, fuel use and emissions, he added, as well as safety.

Orbit Weather+ is not like other weather routing systems accessed from shore-based consultants, said OrbitMI chief marketing officer David Levy, because it is an automated system that can be accessed at any time at no extra cost.

“No one else is doing this. Other people are doing weather routeing on screen but this is an automated system working in the cloud all the time that they can access at any moment in time instead of waiting for routes to be updated,” Levy said.

Pricing is $400 per vessel per month for unlimited use which even if it only saves two tonnes of fuel per voyage will mean a return on investment, Levy said, and is cheaper than buying specific route details.

Both companies stressed that although the system would allow charterers and operators to agree routeing choices, the final decision would remain with the captain of the ship. The aim was not to remove trusted methods of operating but provide more and better options, they said.

US and Netherlands-based DTN had around 600,000 subscribers in 2018 for the delivery and analysis of real-time weather information in the transport agricultural, energy and commodity markets.

In October this year fellow digital vessel services firms Nautilus Labs and OrbitMI announced they were forming a strategic partnership.