Royal Dirkzwager keep eye on seas with satellite comms and big data
Royal Dirkzwager keep eye on seas with satellite comms and big data

Royal Dirkzwager keep eye on seas with satellite comms and big data

Maritime tracking specialist Royal Dirkzwager has used technology from Software AG to help clients keep a closer eye on vessel movements.

For Netherlands-based Royal Dirkzwager and its clients, shipping information is a way to keep a close eye on conditions at sea and ensure a smooth passage for vessels. The company tracks almost 2 trillion ship locations a year on behalf of around 800 maritime organizations – but the world’s oceans are vast and remain tricky to monitor.

Early, ship-based transponders provided a partial solution, but these can only communicate data when a ship comes into port and don’t reach any further than around 40 kilometres offshore.

“Satellite tracking was the obvious solution,” says Royal Dirkzwager CIO Ton De Jong, but with 120,000 ships transmitting data every two seconds over satellite networks, he soon found that the flood of data swamped Royal Dirkzwager’s systems.

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Attention all shipping

Today, the company uses Software AG’s Apama Analytics & Decisions Platform and Webmethods Integration, as part of its wider deployment of the Software AG Digital Business Platform. This set-up enables satellite and IoT information from vessels to be collected and analyzed, aiding shipping movement forecasts and in-harbor logistics.

Royal Dirkzwager can now provide its clients with live and continuously updated ETAs (estimated times of arrival) for ships. This, in turn, means customers can coordinate better with port employees and the trucking companies that collect goods at docks and carry them on their onward journeys.

This is important, because when a ship comes into harbor, a complex choreography of services is initiated, from finding suitable tugboats and a berth, to refueling, unloading cargo and resupplying the vessel with fresh food and supplies for its crew. If the third parties providing these services aren’t ready, an unscheduled arrival can prove extremely costly.

Accurate ETAs, by contrast, come with a host of benefits, including lower costs, higher asset utilization and increased customer satisfaction.

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Customers embrace customization

Customization is another big win for Royal Dirkzwager, using the new platform. With Apama working in the background, the company’s clients can send their own alerts, customizing real-time messages by ship, route and tracking location. By automating this process, the company has improved its real-time message handling by 300 percent, it claims, from 500 messages per second to 1,500.

Clients subscribe to information about specific ships based on virtual zones drawn around any location. As soon as a monitored vessel enters (or exits) a zone, the subscriber receives details by email or text. An XML message can also be submitted to an operational system or invoke a Web service.

For Royal Dirkzwager’s customers, this helps control costs and improve safety. And for the company itself, it provides a foundation for new logistics services in the future.

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