Liverpool: Last week UK firm Sea Level Research received a £200,000 investment to bring unique software to market.
Sea Level Research, founded by Dr Simon Holgate, a former scientist with the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool, has developed software, which more accurately predicts sea levels.
The software combines machine learning algorithms with real-time information on weather and sea levels, and could ultimately reduce demurrage.
The company has received investment from The North West Fund for Venture Capital, managed by Enterprise Ventures. As part of the deal, Mike Finn – who was formerly chief executive of the shipping line CSAV UK & Ireland – has been appointed as the company’s new chair.
Holgate’s software can predict sea levels up to 36 hours in advance to within 20cm, 95% of the time, compared to just 75% of the time using the traditional tides.
The first product, Petro Planner, is targeted at oil refineries which rely on sea levels to be able to load and unload cargo.
“In the coming years, the introduction of new sea routes, bigger vessels and the development of the Liverpool 2 super port will lead to more traffic and greater focus on operational efficiency which, coupled with the desire to reduce fuel costs, will help drive demand.”
Holgate tells Maritime CEO: “We are aiming for 10% of the petrochemical shipping market over the next three years. While we are launching in Europe, this is a global problem and, from our discussions with major shipping hubs in Asia, we know our technology would be of interest. Therefore we are aiming to make it available to them as soon as practicable.”
After PetroPlanner Sea Level Research is looking to launch a new infrastructure level product, Neptune, which is, Holgate says, “a sort of ‘Internet of Things’ for ports”.
“Ultimately,” Holgate concludes, “we want to become the ‘Google Now’ of the shipping world, providing relevant, predictive information at the right time.”