Digital development projects

The trend of digitalisation in navigation is apparent in Finnpilot’s strategy. We want to be a trendsetter in development: a pilotage organisation that is capable of reinventing of itself as well as developing and utilising innovative technologies. Our digital development projects will enable us, in the future, to offer our customers more efficient and diversified pilotage services.

Remote pilotage as a part of ePilotage development

In November 2018, the Government proposed that the Pilotage Act be amended to enable for remote pilotage in Finland’s waterways and the part of the Saimaa Canal leased by Finland that are designated as fairways requiring pilotage. The Act entered into force on 1 February 2019.

In remote pilotage situations, the pilot would manage the relevant tasks from a location other than on the vessel being piloted, for example, from a control centre situated on land. The long-term objective is to improve the safety and efficiency of pilotage activities as well as promote the testing of new technologies and more extensive utilisation of information in pilotage.

The remote pilotage authorisation defines the routes and parts of routes where remote pilotage is allowed. It also determines the vessels involved and the origin and destination of the remote pilotage. The authorisation will be granted by the Transportation and Communications Agency upon application for a maximum of five years.

In accordance with its strategy, Finnpilot has continued its intense development of the ePilotage service concept. As part of this development, we aim to implement the testing phase of remote pilotage during 2020. The realisation of new services, such as remote pilotage, requires new, broader operational models for the services offered within Finnish fairways, and the implementation of the testing phase calls for collaboration between navigational actors.  We carry out co-operation as part of the One Sea ecosystem, in which we operate actively in co-operation with the entire navigational field.

Data collection and utilisation play an even greater role

The ongoing development of Finnpilot’s AISLab system continued in 2018. The system provides an easier and more graphic means of visualising the simultaneous movement and changes in movement of numerous different vessels. The system provides the possibility to observe and process, in retrospect, the way in which different situations related to pilotage developed. AISLab also facilitates more effective organisational learning and the utilisation of collected information for training purposes. Automated analysis functions are also being developed for the system.

Wärtsilä Pilot Pro (formerly Transas Pilot Pro) was completed, and the application was launched for the use of pilots in 2018. Additionally, the testing of GPS receivers that provide Pilot Pro with new, more precise and more extensive information was initiated as well as a project intended to facilitate the transfer of new information, such as faults in safety devices, directly to the Pilot Pro navigation application. The intention is also to increase the amount of data that is made available to customers. The result of the current project is that customers will be able, in the future, to upload a route plan devised by Finnpilot into their own navigation system, enabling the shipmaster and pilot to literally work “with the same map”. The plan is for the system to be taken into use in 2019.

Pilot Online was launched for customer use

With the help of the electronic pilot order system, Pilot Online, customers can provide advance information, order a pilot, change initially-submitted information and track their own order. Pilot Online provides customers with the possibility to access the same situational information regarding their customer vessels as is available to the Pilot Order Centre. Beta testing was initiated in spring 2018 and the service was launched for customer use in the autumn. The aim for 2019 is to guide the customer to utilise the application to a greater degree, rather than relying on the use of phones and email.

Boatweb facilitates the reporting of pilot boat operators’ working hours

In 2018, we also invested in the development of Boatweb, a system for the logging of the working hours and rest periods of pilot boat operators. The monitoring of working hours is required by law and, until now, pilot boat operations have logged the information in the Pilotweb system at the pilot station. A drawback of that system was that notifications could not be made from anywhere other than the pilot station. The monitoring of actual and accurate rest periods has also been problematic under the current system. As part of the previous round of collective bargaining negotiations, the agreement was made to develop a mobile application that would also enable a more accurate process for logging information.

As a new, web-based mobile application, Boatweb will further simplify the process of logging periods of work and rest and, above all, will enable the process from any location. The group comprised of six pilot boat operators, which was established during the negotiations, has been involved in the development work for Boatweb from the beginning and has been testing the system since mid-November. Boatweb will be launched for the use of all pilot boat operators in March 2019.

Next: Key figures