Virtual Arrival process

Figure below shows the steps that are involved when VA processes are agreed (INTERTANKO and OCIMF 2010). The implementation of these steps is essential to the success of VA objectives.

Figure 45: Virtual Arrival processes (INTERTANKO and OCIMF 2010).

Accordingly, the processes may be described as below:

  • Identification of a change in itinerary: The main part of the process is to identify a delay at the next port of destination, for example, due to congestion at the berth or lack of receiving cargo spaces
  • Agreement to new itinerary: The next step is for parties involved including the vessel owner/operator and the charterer and possibly port to agree on the change of itinerary. In particular the port, charterer and owner/operator agree to a new “Required Time of Arrival” at the destination port.
  • Speed adjustment: As a result of the newly agreed Required Time of Arrival (or itinerary), the ship’s speed or the engine RPM is reduced.

VA is intended to be a dynamic and flexible process and, thus if conditions change during a voyage, the orders can be revised to enable the ship to achieve, for example, a new arrival time. Therefore, the above processes are best supported by ship scheduling software systems accessible to all parties to VA agreement in order to facilitate better control and monitoring. The following summarizes the steps that are typically involved when implementing the Virtual Arrival process (INTERTANKO and OCIMF 2010):

  1. Before a vessel’s departure from the load port, or while en-route to the destination port, a delay is identified at the destination port, for example, due to congestion at the berth or lack of receiving space.
  1. In view of the known delay, the vessel owner/operator and the vessel charterer may agree to consider entering into a Virtual Arrival agreement for the voyage.
  1. The ship owner/operator is requested to provide ship performance information to enable an initial assessment of the voyage to be made based on the service speed of the ship.
  1. The charterer and owner/operator agree a Required Time of Arrivalat the destination port and agree on the methodology for calculating voyage data and the associated reporting requirements, or alternatively agree on a WASPto be used for calculating voyage data and to provide supporting reports.
  1. An agreement to undertake Virtual Arrival is implemented using an agreed charter party clause.
  1. The initial report should include:
  1. The methodology to be used to determine speed and consumption calculation
  2. The calculated Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA), based on normal service speed
  3. The calculated ETA, based on normal service speed and anticipated weather, the “Virtual Arrival” ETA
  4. The Required Time of Arrival (RTA)
  5. The speed or RPM to achieve RTA
  6. The bunkers on board at the Virtual Arrival decision point
  1. The vessel reduces speed in order to make the RTA.
  1. On completion of the voyage, if agreed, a WASP or an entity that specializes in weather and or vessel performance analysis produces a final report providing the post-voyage analysis and data to support confirmation of the vessel’s Virtual Arrival time and the calculations of the fuel saved and emission reductions.
  1. In finalizing the Virtual Arrival time, an assessment is to be made of the impact of the weather, sea and current conditions on the voyage by comparing the actual weather encountered with that anticipated when establishing the provisional Virtual Arrival ETA.
  1. The agreed time of Virtual Arrival, the “Deemed Arrival” time, is used as the time when considering demurrage exposure.

Based on the above process and for VA to work, significant level of activities is required and uncertainties in various estimation processes exist. This makes use of VA a difficult process in practice; however, industry should make all it could to resolve relevant barriers to VA (MariEMS 2017).