Navigating Towards Sustainability

October 31, 2023

GSTS harnesses global vessel data to help ports enhance environmental performance

In an era when the world is facing an unprecedented climate crisis, the urgency to decarbonize every sector of the economy has never been greater. The global shipping sector remains a significant contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which, while responsible for transporting over 90% of the world’s goods, comprises an estimated 3% of global emissions. As ships operate both intra- and internationally, tracking and curbing emissions is both a national and global priority. At the same time, ports themselves are acting to help decarbonize the shipping sector, through just in time (JIT) arrival, shore power, and optimization of port operations to gain efficiencies and reduce emissions.  

GSTS has harnessed the power of AIS data, fused with vessel emissions data to create detailed models for estimating GHG emissions. The capabilities to help ports and vessels optimize their operations to reduce their carbon footprint are available in the Schedule Optimisation Planner and the Environmental Performance Toolkit, available in OCIANATM. Here we will explore a global view of port-based emissions on a single day to provide a snapshot of the scale and dimensions of this pressing issue. 

AIS Data: The Foundation of Environmental Accountability 

Automatic Identification System (AIS) data has long been a staple in the maritime industry, primarily used for vessel tracking, navigation, and safety. However, its potential to address environmental concerns has remained largely untapped until recently. GSTS is at the forefront of this initiative, leveraging global AIS data to estimate GHG emissions with increasing precision. 

A Single Day of Global Port Emissions

At the heart of this innovation lies complex algorithms that take into account various parameters such as vessel activity, vessel engine characteristics, use of auxiliary engine systems, etc. to calculate GHG emissions for each vessel. Here’s a simplified overview of the process: 

Data Collection: The company collects AIS data from hundreds of thousands of vessels worldwide. This data includes vessel position, speed, route, and current vessel characteristics. 

Emission Factors: Using historical data and emission factors specific to different vessel types (e.g., container ships, oil tankers, fishing vessels), the algorithm calculates the emissions produced based on the vessel’s activities. 

The interactive map above, developed by GSTS, is a powerful tool for raising awareness about GHG emissions from the maritime industry. Here’s how it empowers users: 

Global Perspective: Users can zoom in and out to explore emissions from different regions, gaining insights into the geographical distribution of emissions.  

Port-Level Detail: Clicking on individual ports reveals emissions data for that location, allowing users to understand the environmental impact of specific ports.  

Time Sensitivity: The map shows emissions for a single day, highlighting the daily variability in emissions and emphasizing the need for immediate action.

Conclusion: Navigating Towards a Sustainable Future 

GSTS’s innovative use of AIS data to estimate GHG emissions is a game-changer in the quest to decarbonize the shipping sector. As we continue to grapple with the global climate crisis, initiatives like this remind us that technology, when harnessed for the greater good, can help us chart a course towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future. It’s time for all stakeholders in the maritime industry to come together and navigate towards a cleaner, greener horizon. 

Contact GSTS for more information:

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