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09 Apr 2018
NAVTOR joins forces with Weathernews International to enhance service and lay foundations for artificially intelligent routing solution
Credit : TSO Bureau


"Global e-navigation leader NAVTOR and Weathernews inc.(WNI), the world's largest private weather service company, have signed a collaboration agreement. The contract will see NAVTOR significantly upgrading its weather information offering within its route planning software NavStation, while also working with the Japanese headquartered firm to develop a ground-breaking artificial intelligence (AI) routing service. This, NAVTOR claims, could revolutionise route planning, efficiency and safety within the maritime industry. Initially the agreement will see WNI providing an enhanced resolution of weather data for NAVTOR, with the addition of new types of weather information – covering areas such as tropical cyclones and weather fronts – delivering a more comprehensive service for NavStation users. This will be followed by the integration of WNI’s Shipping Weather Service Fleet Management platform into NavStation. This offers a host of benefits including Optimum Ship Routing, to save fuel and reduce costs, and optimise for route safety and speed, and Fleet Monitoring, with daily analysis of ship efficiency, alongside detailed auditing capabilities. “This is another significant step on our journey to offer a fully integrated navigation solution that delivers everything navigators, ship officers and shore-based staff need on a single, intuitive and powerful platform,” comments NAVTOR CEO Tor Svanes. “Weather can make all the difference between profit and loss for shipowners and operators. With WNI’s expertise we can ensure we deliver the best, most comprehensive data available, allowing navigators to minimise risks and plan the safest, most cost effective and optimal routes for their individual vessels. This, along with other recent improvements to NavStation – such as the addition of our Passage Planning module – makes the platform an essential tool for enhanced decision making, with the minimum of fuss, administration and risk of human error.” WNI Executive Officer Hidenori Iwasa adds: “Weathernews Inc. is dedicated to delivering high quality, innovative solutions that address risk and provide lasting business value. NAVTOR is the ideal partner in this respect, with its mission to simplify tasks for navigators and increase both process and overall commercial efficiency. Together I believe we can leverage one another’s expertise to change maritime for the better. This is the beginning of an exciting journey.” The road to AI route planning is a key part of that voyage. NAVTOR and WNI will work together, using their combined wealth of operational and weather data as a platform, to create the world’s first AI routing service. Details of the project remain confidential, but essentially a new software tool will be created that transforms data into detailed, reliable and optimised decision-making tools with real-time capabilities. “Data is the most valuable ingredient for AI,” comments Svanes, “and NAVTOR and WNI have access to enormous amounts of it from thousands of vessels operating today. It is our intention to develop a solution that learns to perceive its environment and recommend optimal actions. By doing so we will be able to support our customers with a service capable of maximising performance, efficiency and safety at all times, even when conditions are rapidly changing en route. This will be a breakthrough development for the entire industry, paving the way for a more sustainable, predictable and cost-efficient future.” NAVTOR will unveil the prototype of the WNI integrated NavStation at Sea Japan in April, with the official release scheduled for June this year. Details of the on-going AI development will be released at a later stage. NAVTOR launched NavStation in 2014, allowing navigators to easily gather, view and manage critical voyage information - such as weather data, tidal information and digital publications - in one place for the first time. The Norwegian headquartered business supplies ENC-based services for a broad range of global shipping firms, serving its global customer base from offices in Singapore, Japan, Sweden, Russia, USA and the UK. Weathernews Inc. is the world's largest private weather service company headquartered in Japan. It is the only global weather content maker that employs over 900 staff (including more than 400 meteorologists) in offices in 40 cities in 15 countries and region, including United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, France, Denmark, China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It offers a full range of weather content using ""man-machine shareware system"". In November 2003, Weathernews became the first weather service company ever listed in the 1st Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (4825). "
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