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Avoid chartering pitfalls: 3 mistakes to steer clear of when selecting a vessel

By understanding these pitfalls and adopting proactive measures, you can enhance your chartering experience, make informed choices, and ensure the efficient and successful transportation of goods across the seas.

Navigating the murky waters of commercial maritime can be challenging. As a vessel charterer, your role is one of the most important and also the most complex in the maritime shipping world, as chartering the right vessels for specific voyages or time periods, directly impacts the success of maritime operations.

While striving for smooth and seamless charters, there are three crucial things you need to avoid as a charterer. At first glance they might seem obvious, but making smart choices when selecting a ship and guaranteeing it is able to meet all its deadlines is fraught with potential pitfalls.

By understanding these pitfalls and adopting proactive measures, you can enhance your chartering experience, make informed choices, and ensure the efficient and successful transportation of goods across the seas.


1. Avoid bad performing ships

One major pitfall to avoid is choosing ships that fail to deliver as promised by the owner. These vessels might initially appear cheap, but their heavy consumption of bunkers can lead to higher costs and environmental impacts in the long run.

In addition, you could waste time and money, engaging in legal discussions with the owner over costly performance claims.

So how can you avoid poorly performing ships? Our Vessel Selection service supports charterers when deciding which vessel to use, by leveraging valuable data sources, such as vessel characteristics, weather, and operational and historical performance, to accurately predict how a vessel is expected to perform.

By using this transparent and data-driven approach, charterers are able to make informed decisions, rather than relying on biassed ship owners looking to oversell their vessels. This empowers you to confidently navigate the waters of chartering, ensuring both profit and planet are prioritised.


2. Avoid bad weather

We all know the devastating impact of hitting bad weather on a ship's voyage - in terms of delayed delivery, fuel burned and money lost. This is why weather routing plays a crucial role in ship operations. However, its significance is evolving, as technology is advancing.

Most weather services tackle different elements of ship operation and therefore provide operators with siloed recommendations, which solve several disparate goals. But it doesn't have to be like that. With the use of interconnected data the shipping sector can start to leverage weather conditions to maximise commercial benefits and achieve sustainability goals.

ZeroNorth's Optimise platform seamlessly integrates weather routing into its voyage planning recommendations, offering real-time data and insights. By consolidating this data onto one platform, the need for multiple vendors is eliminated, empowering operators to make well-informed decisions that not only benefit their bottom line, but also contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly maritime industry.

These innovations mean that vessel routing decisions can go above and beyond the critical baseline of ensuring vessel safety, and become more closely tied to successful commercial and sustainability performance. Furthermore, by embracing weather-optimised routes, shippers can generate the profits needed to drive our industry towards a greener future.


3. Avoid ships with bad CII rating

As of 2023, all ships will receive a Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) rating of A to E (similar to domestic appliances), based on their emissions from the previous year. CII emissions are not cumulative year on year, which means that at the end of each calendar year the ‘emissions counter’ for each ship is reset.

While this might sound like a clean slate, there are two things you need to consider when selecting a vessel based on its CII rating:

Is the CII a true reflection of a vessel’s performance?

CII is based on distance sailed and fuel consumed. But as we all know, there are many factors affecting bunkers.

What does this mean for you? Let’s say you choose a vessel with a B rating – even though it costs more to charter – because you assume it will be more efficient on fuel and cost you fewer carbon credits. However, unless you know how that vessel traded during the last year, you can’t know how it will perform under your operating conditions. For example, if you consistently sail with heavy loads and spend prolonged periods in port, this will result in a bad CII rating.

Not only will this incur unexpected costs, you could be in danger of breaking your shipping contract with the owner, who is likely to expect you to return the vessel with the same rating it achieved the previous year.


What is its current CII?

Because the CII rating is assessed and calculated on an annual rather than per voyage basis, the rating doesn’t reflect how the ship has performed in recent voyages. For example, if you take a vessel in July, it doesn't tell you how it has been performing for the previous seven months. Without this information, there is no way to know the vessel’s future CII rating, which could lead to hidden costs in terms of additional fuel needed for your journey and miscalculated carbon credits. Or is there….?

Our mission is to provide charterers with a new level of transparency, allowing them to make informed decisions when selecting ships. As we prepare for CII legislation, Optimise now enables users to access real-time monitoring of their fleet’s CII-related performance and simulate vessel CII ratings.

With our advanced technology, you can see the true performance of a vessel, including its CII rating, not just for the past year but year-to-date. This enables you to assess its environmental impact accurately and make sustainable, affordable choices in your chartering decisions, without any surprises from bad ship performance.

Our platform not only prepares you for current CII legislation, but also anticipates and adapts to forthcoming regulations. We constantly scan and update our software to align with upcoming legislation, providing you with a comprehensive and proactive approach to compliance.

Embrace the future of transparency and environmental responsibility with our innovative system that ensures you stay ahead of the game, avoiding any compliance-related surprises and optimising your chartering operations for a greener, more sustainable maritime industry.

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