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Cloud based Vessel Allocation Decision Support System for Vessel Chartering

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CLOUD-VAS (Cloud based Vessel Allocation Decision Support System for Vessel Chartering)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2016-06-01 al 2017-05-31

CLOUD-VAS is a CLOUD-based Vessel Allocation decision Support tool derived from the by oil chartering companies expressed need for an elementary, user friendly software solution that is accessible any place, any time. CLOUD-VAS helps Large Oil & Gas companies and Large Ship-owners make sharp decisions on which vessels to charter, saving enormously on chartering costs and fuel consumption equalizing lower CO2 emission. The Vessel Allocation Problem is a widely known managerial problem for transportation companies relying on maritime shipping for transportation of their bulk.

Current methods for Vessel Allocation are based on linear, nonlinear, integer, stochastic and global programming solvers proven to perform well but complicated are in use and not protected by user access rights packages which
entails alteration of data by virtually anyone is possible often leading to significant time and monetary losses. The outcome CLOUD-VAS will provide a flexible and affordable optimisation platform that enables to significantly minimise operational costs and fuel consumption (thus GHG emissions). Minimising carbon footprint and fuel consumption is a strategic direction for Waterborne Transportation overall in Europe.

Reduced environmental impact and enhanced fuel efficiency will contribute to economic prosperity and environmental sustainability as two pillars of sustainability. This makes the project strongly related to the current EU wide challenges for the Maritime Transportation Industry to cut back its CO2 emissions and contribute to their strive for delivering products in a timely and cost effective manner. Besides CLOUD-VAS’s benefits like an integrated report system and the implemented user access rights packages the real innovation lies in it being a ready-to-use cloud-based solution.

CLOUD-VAS is the first and so far the only Cloud Based Vessel Allocation Decision Support Tool in the world and will be an important innovation for the Maritime Transportation Industry.
"During the project implementation, the following deliverables have been prepared and submitted to the European Commission:
• “D1.1- CLOUD-VAS design document”: this report will specify the functional and informational view of the components of the detailed architecture.
• “D2.1- Specification of METSOL”: problem statement, goal(s), of the model solver and instances of the VAP.
• “D4.1- Market Analysis”: this study will provide information on the relevant market and competitive forces within it.
• “D2.2- METSOL Design”: The design report including: performance measures, data structures and pseudocode/flowchart of the solver .
• “D3.1- Test Groups document”: including profiles of testers, required test skills and matching the profiles with test skills.
• “D2.3- Beta version of the model solver”: in this report we summarized the Beta-Version of the code. This version creates the routes and selects the vessel to optimize the operation.
• “D4.2- Business scenarios of CLOUD-VAS”: this report will provide an initial version of the CLOUD-VAS system from a business perspective, confirming its value chain and describing actors in terms of business objectives.
• “D5.1- Interim report”: This report is delivered simultaneously with the Technical report of the first period.
• ""D1.3 The production version of CLOUD-VAS”: Final prototype of solution
• ""D2.4 The stable version of the model solver”: Final model solver to implement into Cloud-Vas solution
• ""D2.5 System documents and user manuals”: Installation details, user manuals and screens of Cloud-Vas
• ""D3.2 Test Scenarios document”: Scenarious presented for pilot stage tests.
• ""D3.3 Test and Bug-Fixing Results report”: Test and bug fixin report according to test results.
• ""D3.4 Closure of Pilot Stage Report”: Check list and details of pilot test
• ""D4.3 CLOUD-VAS Customer Engagement Report”: Customer engagement activities, workshops, company visits.
• ""D5.2 “Final Report”: This report is delivered simultaneously with the Technical report of the Final Report."
The vessel allocation problem is a special case of the general vehicle allocation problem for Maritime. The problem is to select the most suitable vessels and to allocate the cargo along different routes among them so as to minimise total renting and distribution cost. We are solving VAP with an innovative, industry focused, cloud-based vessel allocation decision support system that is user friendly, greener and smarter which will eliminate the need to use devious, time consuming and error prone existing commercial solutions.

CLOUD-VAS considers for the first time fuel emission as an explicit objective to optimise alongside cost. This is a novel aspect of the project to address one of the major challenges of maritime transportation to reduce its environmental impact. The work proposed in this proposal will reduce environmental impact of maritime shipping in Europe and contributes to the transition of Europe to a low carbon economy. Besides the general focus point of the market of reducing vessel chartering costs an important point of attention is the reduction of the mentioned GHG. Not only are ship owners forced by regulations but they are ‘pushed’ by organisations like the Clean Cargo Working Group as well to optimise their engines and other operational processes in order to minimise their GHG emissions.

The only Cloud-Based solution in the market : the market in which CLOUD-VAS operates can be labelled as a niche thus the existing state-of-the-art solutions are limited to commercial mathematical solvers (COMSOL). Therefore CLOUD-VAS will be the only Cloud-Based solution available in the market where a metaheuristic solver (METSOL) model will be developed and built into a cloud based software platform.
a) No high cost of license, subscription fee instead. Users can use SaaS offerings to test the software before buy it and leads to the growth of costumer base since it allows small and medium enterprises (SME) to use a software.
b) Helps increase volume output or productivity with fewer people, hence the cost per unit, project or product plummets.
c) Different from the traditional model, in SaaS the software (application) is already installed and configured reducing the time spent in installation and configuration.
d) Users will have access anytime, anywhere globalising workforce economically. People worldwide can access the cloud, provided they have an Internet connection.
e) CLOUD-VAS will be developed with implementation of different user access packages preventing unauthorised staff from making alterations often leading to costly mistakes.