May 23, 2023 | Marine environment & clean shipping news

Kotug, in collaboration with its integration partner Helm Operations, is actively and autonomously scheduling all tug movements for several US maritime operations.

Since early 2022, the scheduling tool of Kotug OptiPort has been active in Los Angeles (LA) and Long Beach (LB) in California, Port Arthur in Texas and the Port of Tampa in Florida.

The process of scheduling the right tugs to match the right vessel is a complex task that requires advanced insights. To deal efficiently with the resulting complexities, operators have partnered with intelligent tug scheduling software Kotug OptiPort.

Patrick Everts, GM Kotug, said: “OptiPort utilises the latest developments in machine learning, data science, mathematical programming and data analytics. It is the world’s first cloud-based tug scheduling software to use AI to optimise decision-making continuously and has been designed exclusively for maritime service providers. OptiPort improves dispatch operations to address the current economic and operational challenges facing the maritime industry. It enhances efficiency by combining AIS data from nautical assets, weather and tide data, work and crewing schedules, and port information to produce a tailored cost optimisation and minimization model for users.”

In addition to the effective use of data and AI to optimise planning, Kotug OptiPort offers a cloud-based reporting solution for reporting and analytics. Implementing OptiPort and Helm Connect’s scheduling solution allows towage companies to deliver enhanced towage services in the ports where the company operates at the lowest costs.  The software applies local rules and business/port standards in a consistent and optimised way, ensuring that the right tug is at the right location at the right time while sailing at the optimal speed. As a result, fuel consumption is reduced while tugboat utilisation is simultaneously improved for the operator. OptiPort provides teams with more control over operations, with automatic real-time updates enabling tug hour scheduling to be accomplished in advance instead of at the last moment. 

The Helm Connect jobs dispatch and billing software for the harbour towage sector is used by customers in more than 30 countries.

Nolan Barclay, CEO Helm Operations, said: “The partnership between Helm and Kotug OptiPort offers harbour towage operators a simplified order-to-invoice workflow and access to significant optimised cost savings. Helm now also offers a new mobile app – Helm Portal – which allows local port agents to submit requests directly to towage operators, make changes to those requests, see live updates, and receive notifications – all via a handheld device. This provides timely and accurate dispatch information and keeps OptiPort up to date with real-time information to secure better operational recommendations.”

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