PortX and Helm Operations have formed an artificial intelligence-based (AI) vessel dispatching tool, combining a service each to improve harbour towing.

Under the agreement, PortX’s terminal dispatching system OptiPort, powered by AI, will be merged with the harbour dispatching and operations software Helm CONNECT.

As well as helping ship operators to save over $1m a port every year, OptiPort will signal annual savings of $200,000 for each tug by reducing fuel consumption, crew overtime and chartering of third-party tugs.

Using AI, OptiPort maximises the performance of vessel dispatch according to the crew working hours, currents, tides, vessel characteristics, fuel consumption and availability.

PortX claims that OptiPort can make harbour schedules every three minutes.

The combined solution will send users automated suggestions about the best towing vessel, departure time and operating speed based on the current schedule.

PortX managing director Vincent van Os said: “Helm Operations is the world leader in harbour dispatch and billing software. By combining our OptiPort dynamic port asset optimisation software with Helm CONNECT, we can help dispatchers and harbour operators around the world make better decisions on the use of their fleet.

“With the integration work that we have done with Helm, implementation of OptiPort can be done extremely quickly, without adding additional hardware on the vessels or the dispatch control room.

“This leads to real cost savings that can improve operators’ bottom lines almost immediately upon implementation.”