At the first meeting three years ago of the Global Industry Alliance (GIA), a partnership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and 14 companies dedicated to decarbonising shipping, shipowners complained about their vessels waiting days to weeks at anchorage before being able to dock.
Or as Astrid Dispert, the technical manager of GreenVoyage2050, a project of the IMO and the Norwegian government, said what was needed was 'improving efficiency in ship-port interface'.
The key is knowing when how long a ship will occupy a quay, and more importantly, when it will depart. Conveying this information to next occupant while it is still at sea will allow it to speed up, but more often slow down to avoid port congestion.
It's not just carbon. 'Notification six hours earlier than usual resulted in an average 23 per cent fuel savings,' said Ben van Scherpenzeel, chairman of the Port Call Optimisation Task Force.
'Sharing updates earlier and more frequently would allow an incoming ship to adjust its sailing speed much earlier and sail a lot more efficiently. Even a modest speed reduction of 10 per cent can result in a 30 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions,' said the narrator of a Marine Traffic video.
But it's not easy being green. As Mr Van Scherpenzeel said there are contractual and operational barriers. Seventy per cent of bulk carriers and tankers are contractually obligated to maintain a minimum speed. Operational barriers include the number of stakeholders and lack of communication among service providers, ships and port authorities as well as a lack of standards, he said.
Said Maersk port optimisation manager Andreas van der Wurff: 'Data sharing requires collaboration with all the actors in the port industry. To ensure that we have industry wide ??adoption of standards, we need to have standardised master and event data in order to connect machine to machine and human to human.'