Smart navigation improves visibility of livestock transport operations


MOST “agricultural technology” in the livestock industry is focused on the paddock, but an element of smart technology has provided the industry with many advantages on the high seas.

A year ago, Livestock Express installed new “smart navigation” systems in 13 of its modern livestock carriers.

All vessels in the fleet were already equipped with Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) for safe navigation.

However, the company depended on emails and phone calls to monitor the progress of a particular trip, the COO Graeme Stephan Explain.

“We had no direct view or control over our ships. we could never see what they were seeing because you couldn’t share screens or send maps and directions, ”he said.

Installing Wärtsilä Voyage’s Fleet Operations Solution (FOS), a dedicated ship-to-shore connection for navigation, allows the company to directly monitor what is happening on the ship from shore.

Livestock Express charter manager Lennart Ephraim told Beef Central that the system provided several key benefits.

“From an animal welfare and customer service perspective this gives us a lot more information as we can now see the ship’s plotted route in real life and run the forecast as a video that shows how the weather will change next week and where the ship should be at these times.

“In the end, this dramatically improves our level of control and safety and, from a cost perspective, allows us to optimize routes, minimize fuel costs and make better forecasting hours. arrival at the port.

“This last point is particularly important for exporters to optimize their livestock deliveries and times in the pre-export facility.”

Mr Ephraim said information showing planned routes and weather forecasts could also be shared with authorities to keep them up to date with trip management and livestock welfare.

While weather monitoring and tropical storm warnings have been in use for a long time, the FOS system made it much clearer from the shore side, which helped improve vessel guidance.

“We can also go back up to a month, showing the performance of the vessel as well as the weather conditions on the route, including air and sea temperatures.

“This allows us to go back in time and link weather events more directly to travel outcomes from an animal welfare perspective as well as from a travel weight performance perspective.

“Our new vessels are fitted with motion sensors that track the vessel’s roll and pitch which can again be incorporated into the image for analysis.

“New technologies offer new opportunities to improve and raise the bar in terms of travel management and stakeholder transparency. “

The FOS helps identify the shortest safe route, which has led to time and energy efficiency benefits.

As an example of the performance gains achieved, Livestock Express recently optimized navigation on a regular route between Vietnam and Australia.

The FOS Travel Benchmarking tool identified that the vessel was sailing too far west of Borneo.

The company conducted a safety check on the potential shortest route generated by FOS, found it safe and asked the crew to move closer to the coast of Borneo.

As a result, the vessel reduced its fuel consumption on this route by approximately 10%.

There are no global regulations governing livestock exports by sea, but many national authorities set their own rules.

The Republic of Ireland is a recent example visited by Livestock Express vessels which characterizes regulatory requirements, Mr Stephan said.

“One of the requirements if you are transporting animals from Ireland is that you cannot travel to areas above certain wind forces and sea heights. You must report the ship’s weather to them every day. we can approach the authorities and show them our planned route and so on. They are happy with it because it is a proactive and visual plan.

A similar case with the New Zealand authorities, in particular the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), is also relevant.

“We are sending screenshots of what we are doing that day as well as where we plan to sail in a week, as well as the path of the storm and how it has moved. or will move. I don’t think anyone had done this before from New Zealand.

There are several advantages to using an integrated navigation solution such as FOS.

In a sector where animal welfare is paramount, any tool that improves navigation is valuable.

But it is the increased visibility offered by FOS that makes it possible to use the same tool to train operators and ensure regulatory compliance – a triple victory for digital navigation.

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