Cirrus Logistics: Digitizing Port Scheduling

Simon Shore, Managing Director
The hands of a berthing scheduler work fervently on the keyboard, with an impending pressure of eight oil tankers waiting offshore to be docked at one of berths at the terminal. This mathematical quandary gives rise to 40,320 different combinations and the scheduler must know which docking order would be most beneficial to the port. In the background as the clock ticks, precious dollars are wasted in demurrage penalties that are unique to each vessel and cargo. Replacing the traditional, manual process of scheduling on spreadsheets, Cirrus Logistics delivers turnkey scheduling and optimization solutions that have a strong foundation in mathematics—a steady step toward helping the oil and gas industry embrace digital transformation. “It is very similar to memorizing game plans in your head and playing chess with a grandmaster,” explains Simon Shore, Managing Director, Cirrus Logistics. “What our solutions do is work out all the different moves and suggest a cost, time-optimized route—the best game plan.”

The oil and gas supply chain, even inland distribution, is plagued by the sheer number and complexity of variables involved, impeding effective and timely decision-making. Cirrus Logistics uses a set of smart algorithms that incorporate up to 60 different constraints to create an intuitive model that facilitates users to visualize berthing operations and distribution networks, suggesting optimal schedules and designs. By publishing Gantt charts, a series of dashboards, and widgets on a web application front-end, Cirrus Logistics allows users to configure the entire screen and produce plans, while being informed of the KPI effects of those plans.

Marine Enterprise Suite (MES), with a core algorithm called SEABERTH, is the berth scheduling application developed by Cirrus Logistics to process different variables like inventory, infrastructure, and other resources required to process the vessels in a terminal. It also takes into account tidal patterns, product availability, quay side infrastructure, and safety restrictions like daylight working. MES also performs calculations based on demurrage values for each vessel, the profitability of its cargo, and its market demand.

What our solutions do is work out all the different moves and suggest a cost, time-optimized route

The scheduler can see vessels approaching the port in real-time— each of them color-coded according to demurrage, waiting time, and cargo. SEABERTH processes all such constraints to automatically create the most optimal schedule, freeing up additional slots for increased throughput.

“SEABERTH has given us the confidence that we are optimizing our berthing operations in line with our commercial priorities,” says Bob Law, Oil Movements Controller at Associated Petroleum Terminals (APT), a joint venture of Phillips66 and TOTAL Fina Elf. While replacing the manual scheduling system, Cirrus Logistics provided decision transparency, and the ability to efficiently meet the production cycle requirements of both parent refineries. Following the implementation Cirrus Logistics’ team worked in close collaboration with different stakeholders, ensuring that their digital solution performed accurately and more efficiently than the manual process. The two-day visibility window was extended infinitely, allowing APT to work with both refineries in describing ‘what-if’ scenarios and planning ahead of time.

Once refinery products transit to inland distribution, Cirrus Logistics’ COST2SERV enables oil and gas companies to cut down the costs of pipeline or on-road distribution to homes, forecourts, or business facilities. It does so in a similar mathematical method, incorporating numerous parameters to design multimodal and complex network infrastructures and strategies. The company is now enthusiastic about exploring and accounting for a greater number of such factors—AIS location signals from vessels, weather forecast data, and exchange agreements between refineries. “All the innovation at Cirrus Logistics is aimed at harnessing the power digital transformation can offer oil and gas terminals,” summarizes Shore.

Cirrus Logistics

Basingstoke, UK

Simon Shore, Managing Director

Offers advanced, mathematical simulation solutions to oil and gas companies to digitize schedule and network optimization of their supply chain

Cirrus Logistics