Lighter Boat Optimization | ATA Prediction

How might one optimize the operation of lighter boats (barges)?

This seems quite different to me than Towboat operations for example, due to following reason:
Towboats can be assigned to tow any vessel, while lighter boats only carry the cargo of a given vessel at a time.

For this reason, it seems even more complex to optimize scheduling for lighter boats, as vessels arriving past their declared ETA will cause suboptimal scheduling for lighter boats.

It would be important then, I presume, to estimate the ATA (Actual Time of Arrival) of a vessel. So the question then becomes; how can we predict the ATA? Are there any good solutions out there that does this? Thank you.

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From what I’ve seen while I’ve been at sea, Barges pull pretty strong tugs and are generally close-range hauls. Therefore, there is no situation where they need to give ETA, rather they supply the ship according to the ETA coming from the ship. Also, considering that tugboats can tow even the largest ships, pulling loaded barges isn’t a big deal for them.

The ATA of the vessels can vary significantly depending on various factors, such as weather conditions, port congestion, technical issues, human error, and changes in the vessel’s route or schedule. So, it is not an easy, straightforward task. For container ships, the ETA is accuracy (i.e. on-time arrival) ranges from around 60% to 80%.

One company I know that works on ETA prediction is Sinay. They even developed a so-called ETA calculator:

I appreciate the insights provided by both @furkan-zblbl and @aydin-mammadov . I would like to add to the conversation by suggesting a few potential solutions for optimizing lighter boat operations.

Firstly, I agree with @furkan-zblbl that the tugboats responsible for pulling lighter boats (or barges) are indeed strong and capable. However, the point @ruzgar-zere brought up about scheduling remains an important aspect to consider. Although the ETA is provided by the ship, delays can and do occur, which then affects the lighter boats’ operations.

To improve the prediction of ATA and subsequently optimize the scheduling of lighter boats, we could leverage advanced technologies like AI and Machine Learning. The use of AI algorithms can help predict ATA more accurately by analyzing historical data and incorporating various factors affecting the vessels’ arrival time.

The tool shared by @aydin-mammadov from Sinay seems to be one such solution that uses AI for predicting ETA. It’s worth exploring further and seeing how it can be adapted specifically for lighter boats. It would also be interesting to see if it considers factors such as weather, port congestion, and potential technical issues, which @aydin-mammadov rightly pointed out as crucial variables influencing ATA.

Moreover, we could explore the use of IoT devices for real-time tracking and monitoring of both the vessels and lighter boats. This real-time data, when fed into a well-trained AI system, could potentially provide more accurate and dynamic scheduling, thus optimizing the operations.

Lastly, there needs to be an effective communication system in place between the vessels and the lighter boats to ensure that any changes in ETA are promptly communicated. This would allow the lighter boats to adjust their schedules accordingly and minimize potential downtime or inefficiencies.

Overall, the key lies in predictive technology and efficient communication. These are just some preliminary thoughts, and I’m sure there are many other innovative solutions out there. I’m looking forward to hearing more suggestions from this knowledgeable forum.