Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk enhance voyage optimization capabilities with Sofar Ocean’s Wayfinder platform

Sofar Ocean

Star Bulk (NASDAQ: SBLK) and Eagle Bulk (NYSE: EGLE), two of the largest and best performing dry bulk carriers in the world, use Sofar's Wayfinder platform to optimize voyages and reduce emissions across their fleets.

Sofar’s Wayfinder voyage optimization platform is easy to deploy and requires no hardware installation. Captains and Operators around the world use Wayfinder’s proactive and continuous route guidance to ensure that their vessels follow the most efficient path to port.

Carriers trust Wayfinder to accelerate decarbonization efforts amidst new regulations

Wayfinder customers and others across the maritime shipping industry are more eager than ever to operationalize strategies that drive decarbonization in the immediate term. This sense of urgency is in part driven by new regulations — namely, the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) — that aim to decrease the shipping industry’s emissions.

Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk are long-standing proponents of voyage optimization as a strategy to reduce emissions today. This is characteristic of each carrier’s forward-thinking approach to operationalizing sustainability practices. Both companies are established leaders within the maritime shipping industry and have put emissions reductions at the core of their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) roadmaps.

“Star Bulk has been focusing on voyage optimization for several years to minimize our costs and reduce emissions, and we are always on the look-out for new products that use advanced technologies,” said George Mantalos, Energy Efficiency Director at Star Bulk.

Wayfinder catalyzes Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk’s efforts by continuously searching for the most efficient route for all of their vessels using the platform. An optimized route can decrease a vessel’s exposure to inclement weather, reduce its fuel consumption, and lower its emissions output. Wayfinder customers see an average of 4-6% fuel and time savings per voyage and annual fleetwide emissions reductions of tens of thousands of metric tonnes of CO2.

Access to real-time data and highly accurate forecasts are key differentiators as climate change makes ocean weather more extreme

A visualization comparing an optimized route suggested by Sofar’s Wayfinder platform (pink line) and the vessel’s active, non-optimized route (black line). Wayfinder’s optimized recommendation proactively routes the vessel around a storm system along its active route, saving the ship fuel, time, and money, and lowering its emissions output.

Wayfinder’s optimization advantage starts with its high-accuracy weather forecasts. Whereas most platforms simply use government models — produced by organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Centre For Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) — as the foundation for their forecasts, Sofar produces superior models by assimilating the 1.5 million real-time ocean observations captured by our global Spotter buoy network each day. These forecasts outperform government models by up to 50%.

The ability to collect real-time data along a vessel’s route is key in providing increased value for Captains and Operators. For Captains, ground truth observations translate to more trustworthy route guidance, and represent an opportunity to improve the safety of the crew and cargo. Safety is of particular concern given the increasing frequency and intensity of severe ocean weather caused by climate change. For shoreside teams, the real-time data improves their ability to predict the impact of individual routing decisions and to optimize the commercial outcomes of every voyage.

“What we like about Sofar’s services is that they use a large network of ocean weather sensors to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting,” said Mantalos. “We expect that this should allow us to further optimize our fleet’s routes and speeds.”

Wayfinder’s vessel performance models and optimization engine power superior daily voyage guidance

Sofar’s best-in-class weather forecasts enable Wayfinder to predict the conditions along a vessel’s route; to predict how a particular vessel will behave in those conditions, Wayfinder uses highly accurate vessel performance models.

The hybrid physics and data-driven modules, which are custom-tuned for every vessel using Wayfinder, predict ship speed and fuel consumption across all sea states with a high degree of accuracy. On average, Wayfinder produces speed predictions within 0.5 knots and fuel consumption predictions within 2% of metric tons consumed.

These predictions, coupled with superior weather forecasts, power Wayfinder’s optimization engine. Repeatedly over the course of a voyage, Wayfinder considers hundreds of millions of route options before sending waypoint and daily RPM guidance. These proactive and continuous recommendations take into account the latest weather forecasts, market factors, and safety constraints, further distinguishing Wayfinder from alternatives and ensuring that Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk’s vessels are always on the most efficient path to port.

“Eagle Bulk has a track record for leveraging data to make the best decisions,” said Jonathan Dowsett, Director of Fleet Performance at Eagle Bulk. “Sofar Ocean’s real-time sensor-derived ocean data allows our onboard and shoreside teams to dynamically optimize speed and routing decisions with safety, cost, and emissions benefits.”

The dashboard of Sofar’s Wayfinder voyage optimization platform. Captains and Operators use the dashboard to compare active and suggested routes, view highly accurate ocean weather forecasts, monitor safety alerts, and track key vessel performance metrics, like fuel consumption, emissions output, and voyage cost.

Climate tech and maritime shipping build towards a sustainable future

Climate technology is helping many industries decarbonize and will play a key role in maritime shipping’s green transition. Sofar is actively working with Star Bulk, Eagle Bulk, and other Wayfinder customers to add expanded emissions tracking capabilities to the platform, including EU ETS and CII optimization tools.

For Sofar Ocean co-founder and CEO Tim Janssen, Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk’s commitments validate Sofar’s science-based and data-driven approach to helping the shipping industry meet its sustainability goals.

“For this massive sector of the world economy to decarbonize, shipping companies will need access to reliable ocean information,” said Janssen. “This is our focus at Sofar Ocean. We collect ocean data at a planetary scale and use it to produce the most accurate weather forecasts to catalyze maritime solutions that preserve ocean health. Our partnerships with Star Bulk and Eagle Bulk further this mission and we look forward to continuing to empower them, and the shipping industry at-large, to reduce emissions using our Wayfinder platform.”

To learn more about Wayfinder, check out its product page. To schedule a demo with the Wayfinder team, please fill out this short form.

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