PortX and Helm Operations team up for AI assistance

Source: press release, 25 June 2019

Helm Operations will incorporate PortX’s OptiPort to provide a new advanced version of its Helm CONNECT platform
Helm Operations will incorporate PortX’s OptiPort to provide a new advanced version of its Helm CONNECT platform (illustration: Helm Operations/PortX)

PortX and Helm Operations have 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 harbour dispatching and operations software.

Already used in a number of ports around the globe, OptiPort dramatically improves the scheduling of harbour towage operations by using artificial intelligence to optimise 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 optimise harbour schedules every three minutes, resulting in the most optimal and cost-effective dispatch schedules for any harbour or fleet.

Depending on the port, pilot studies using OptiPort have shown savings of greater than USD 1 million annually per port by reducing fuel consumption and crew overtime while optimising vessel dispatch to reduce chartering of third-party tugs. Together, these factors allow for savings of up to USD 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 harbour 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, greatly reducing fuel and overtime costs while ensuring optimal schedules for harbour operators.

Vincent van Os, managing director of PortX, says, “Helm Operations is the world leader in harbour dispatch and billing software. By combining our OptiPort Dynamic Port Asset Optimisation software with Helm CONNECT, we can help dispatchers and harbour 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 achieved extremely quickly without adding additional hardware on the vessels or in 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, comments, “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 harbour docking companies, and we’re eager to enable our customers to successfully realise the cost savings that OptiPort can provide. From initial planning to long-term success, we’re ready to help our customers achieve more.”