Helm Operations, ShipTracks Launch New Port Automation Tools


Helm Operations, ShipTracks Launch New Port Automation Tools

Victoria, BC – Leading maritime operations software developer Helm Operations and AIS service provider ShipTracks launched a new set of integrated features for port towing companies designed to ensure companies “never lose another job” in its ports.

The new integration links Helm CONNECT Jobs, the most widely used dispatch software in the port towing market, and ShipTracks AIS technology to streamline and automate the creation of towing service orders directly from the AIS system. The result is greater operational awareness, lower workloads for dispatchers, and higher revenue as operators identify and capture jobs that were previously lost to their competitors.

Modern port towing operations use a variety of tools to monitor their ports and ensure operational efficiencies, including AIS systems to track the speed and movements of ships, and tug dispatch and billing systems such as Helm CONNECT Jobs. to schedule and manage the trailer. Until now, these systems have largely operated separately, but by integrating them, dispatchers will now be able to receive automatic notifications of ships entering the port, see if their company has a contract with the ship, if the towing work has been completed. scheduled, and even automatically import the vessel and related jobs into the dispatch program. All from the AIS screen.


“When we traditionally look at AIS, we focus on situational awareness,” says Charles Riley, CEO of ShipTracks. “But with this integration with Helm CONNECT we are now able to offer customers true ‘revenue insight’ and help them not only plan safe operations, but also track and automate every potential job and source of income at the port to help them maximize returns and market share. ”

“By notifying companies when a ship enters their region, showing who the job belongs to and what its status is, and then allowing them to enter orders directly into Helm CONNECT from the ShipTracks screen, we can ensure that they never lose a job again.” .

Beyond just identifying new and potential revenue, the integration also provides operators with new tools to increase efficiency and reduce costs. “On the business side, many companies still have staff who watch AIS screens around the clock to identify when new ships arrive in port. With this integration we can automate that, ”says Paul Cyr, Senior Account and Integration Manager for Helm Operations and a 20-year veteran of the industry.

“Also on the dispatch side, we can automatically complete incoming vessel jobs for the dispatcher to review and approve, reducing human error and saving hours of manual data entry. Even better, we can improve the dispatcher’s cost awareness by letting him know if tugs are moving without assigned work or if ships are going too fast while moving. This really makes it possible for dispatchers to reduce operating costs at the port, ”says Mr. Cyr.


The results are drastic efficiency gains, and although the integration is new to the market, operators are already satisfied with the results. John Buchanan, President of Harbor Docking and Towing, was one of the first users of the system. “This integration has allowed us to automate our processes and improve data quality,” says Buchanan. “With ShipTracks, our dispatchers can create an order by simply grabbing the ship and dragging it into the order slot, pre-filling the form with ship data provided by ShipTracks. What used to take 5 or 10 minutes now only takes 30 seconds and We know that the information they are using is accurate. With the margins becoming narrower in the tugboat industry, there is less room for error, so I definitely recommend this integration – with it, you will get more efficiency in your operations. ”


Partners say this is just the starting point for integration, and they are exploring ways to more deeply integrate Helm CONNECT with ShipTracks AIS technology to improve ship operations. “At Helm, we realize that through partnering with other innovators and market leaders, such as ShipTracks for AIS, we make operations simpler, faster and more efficient for our users,” says Nolan Barclay, CEO of Helm Operations. “By working with ShipTracks, we are looking to make even more data available to operators within their AIS screen, including operational events such as crew changes or planned maintenance, which affect vessel capacity. Beyond port towing, we want to give operators of all kinds the ability to leverage this type of data in their planning to increase the efficiency of their operations, and we plan to announce more of these efforts throughout the year. ”

About Helm Operations

Helm Operations is the developer behind the world’s fastest growing maritime operations platform, Helm CONNECT, providing ship dispatch and billing, maintenance, compliance and personnel management to nearly 250 companies and more than 4,500 vessels in all the world.


About ShipTracks

New Orleans-based ShipTracks helps the maritime industry make better decisions with real-time ship position information through AIS mapping. Currently, the company works with 7 of the top 10 US river towing companies, including Foss and Enterprise, as well as major oil and shipping companies such as Mediterranean Shipping Company.


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