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Listening, understanding, acting: the evolution of innovation with NavStation

NAVTOR’s NavStation launched in 2014 as the world’s first digital chart table. Now, eight years later, the platform continues to evolve to meet navigator challenges and deliver business efficiency. The latest leap forward sees the integration of port data, time zones, load lines, and AMVER reporting… with more to come.

“It’s all about simplifying complexity,” states NAVTOR CCO Børge Hetland. “The world of shipping – both in business and operational arenas – is constantly moving, with new demands, regulations and commercial considerations. The only constant is change. And that makes life very challenging for today’s owners, operators and crews.

“So,” he adds, sitting back in his chair at NAVTOR’s HQ in Egersund, Norway, “we’re here to help.”

NAVTOR formed in 2011 as a pioneering e-Navigation specialist, launching the first type approved Pay As You Sail (PAYS) ENC service the following year. It has now branched into performance monitoring and optimisation and boasts products on more than 8,000 vessels with customers spanning all main shipping segments and global hubs.

NavStation has been central to that success.

Meeting demand

“NavStation is a key part of our digital ecosystem that connects systems, vessels, teams, and entire organisations,” states Timo Essers, Product Manager, NAVTOR. “Basically, it unites critical data on one single platform to put everything a navigator needs at their fingertips to enable better, safer and more efficient processes and decision making.

“It’s under constant development. We listen to the industry, understand their needs and then act to add functionality and solve challenges. That evolution has been central to its uptake and impact.”

As an example, he points to NavStation’s Passage Planning module, which collects data and automates otherwise laborious manual tasks, cutting the whole process from an average of 3 hours per voyage to under 30 minutes.

“This was us answering demand from our customers and innovating to give them a competitive advantage,” Essers says. “And the latest NavStation release, out now, continues that mission.”

Integrating value

NavStation 6.1, for the first time, integrates IHS Markit port data, time zones and vessel load lines, and AMVER reporting, into the platform. In doing so it further automates tasks, reduces workloads/costs, increases situational awareness and reduces human errors. In other words, as Hetland would say, it simplifies complexity.

“These are significant changes,” Essers explains. “The introduction of the Extended Port Database from IHS Markit gives users the most comprehensive, cost-effective and accurate data available, spanning everything from country information and port descriptions, down to berth and terminal data and contact details for the people you need to know on the ground. There’s real value in integrating that into the raft of data already on NavStation, enabling better insights and smoother port arrivals, departures and operations.”

Similarly, he says, Time Zones (both geographical and political) and Load Lines/Zones will now be seamlessly placed both into passage plans and as overlays on charts for enhanced awareness and planning, creating better overviews and guarding against human errors.

Automated AMVER reporting is the other “headline” innovation in the latest update, with the Passage Planning module now configured to take care of all Sailing Plans, Position Reports, Deviation Reports and Final Reports to boost global search and rescue capabilities. Reports can be sent both automatically and manually.

“Here we can give something back to the maritime community,” Essers concludes, “helping them help one another, and making it easier for everyone to save lives. It’s fantastic to feel that we can make a difference here.”

Smart developments

According to Hetland, the team will continue making differences to the everyday lives of their industry users with new innovations, coming soon.

“Each new solution, or enhancement to one of our products or services, takes us a little closer to our destination of enabling optimally smart, sustainable shipping for our global customer base,” he stresses, “but we haven’t reached our destination yet!

“We’re committed to a programme of continual innovation and improvement and NavStation is the embodiment of that.”

The next leap forwards, he reveals, will be the integration of an industry leading auto-routing functionality into NavStation, helping shipping businesses optimise routes, maximise efficiencies, drive down OPEX, and stay ahead of complexity.

“Together we can voyage to a brighter shipping future,” he smiles. “It’s as simple as that!”


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