December 7 - GAC-SMHI Weather Solutions has been working with the European Union to improve weather routing and vessel monitoring.

The Sea Traffic Management (STM) Validation Project, developed by a European consortium headed-up by the Swedish Maritime Administration, highlights that international shipping remains relatively unregulated and a route chosen by a ship is often unknown to other vessels - something that can increase the chances of collisions, near misses, congestion and delays. The STM projects aims to tackle that issue by exploring ways in which routing information and planning can be shared to minimise the risks.

The weather routing services offered by GAC-SMHI Weather Solutions enable vessels to share key information, while its analysts can analyse the most suitable route based on vessel characteristics, load, winds, waves and currents. GAC says the aim is to support both the captain on board and the person on dry land instructing the vessel, in order to ensure safe and energy-efficient transport.

Lennart Cederberg, segment manager for shipping at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrographical Institute (SMHI) said. "The STM project is based on standardising the exchange of information between vessels and land to achieve a transparent system to helps vessels, companies, ports, terminals, authorities and other stakeholders to know where ships are, and what their planned routes are."

Cederberg gave Rotterdam, Europe's biggest port, as an example of efficiencies that could be realised by using the system: "It has 140 terminals, and 30,000 vessels call at the port every year. With the help of STM, it is possible to coordinate movements so vessels can arrive at the right terminal at exactly the right time and know exactly when they can unload, instead of waiting anchored far outside the harbour and waiting for a space to become available."