Photo of a seagull on a container with a ship in the background to illustrate how maritime software can help with sustainable shipping practices

A Sustainable Future: Eco-Friendly Practices Supported by New Maritime Software

7/9/23 | 7 minute read

Climate change has placed sustainability at the forefront of global conversations, and industries worldwide are grappling with the need to implement environmentally responsible practices. The maritime sector faces an increasing mandate to adopt more sustainable measures.

Maritime software has emerged as an invaluable ally in this global transition, providing solutions aimed at minimising environmental impact and encouraging eco-friendly operations.

Below are different areas highlighting what maritime software is doing to help. As advancements continue with this technology, we will see these capabilities become more efficient at reducing carbon footprints.

Real-time Monitoring of Emissions

 Large cargo ship in the ocean to illustrate how maritime software can help with sustainable shipping practices

The issue of emissions in the maritime industry extends beyond carbon dioxide to include other pollutants like sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides. Maritime software often integrates with sensors that can be placed in various parts of the ship to measure and monitor these emissions accurately.

Not only do these systems allow for constant monitoring, but they can also integrate with ship operations to reduce speed or adjust if emission levels get too high. With predictive analytics, these systems can even simulate how different operational strategies could affect future emission levels, offering invaluable insights for long-term sustainability planning.

Maritime software can offer various features for this purpose, such as:

  • Dashboards: Interactive dashboards provide real-time data and historical trends.
  • Alerts: Immediate notifications are sent out if emission levels cross predetermined thresholds.
  • Predictive Analytics: Simulate the emissions impact of various operational changes for future planning.

The Role of Transparency


Transparency is more than just a buzzword; it's a strategy that can have concrete benefits. By making emissions data publicly available, shipping companies can create a stronger case for their sustainability efforts, improving their environmental impact but also attracting environmentally conscious investors and customers.

Furthermore, this open approach fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Feedback from external audits can offer new perspectives on how to enhance sustainability measures. Maritime software often includes features that make it easy to generate reports suitable for different audiences, from regulatory bodies to communities and the public.

Features in maritime software that can contribute to transparency include:

  • Reporting Tools: Generate customised emissions reports for internal and external use.
  • Data Sharing: Easily share real-time data with regulatory bodies, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Public Accessibility: Offer public access to certain sustainability metrics, strengthening community relations.
  • Audit Trails: Keep a permanent log of all emissions data to verify compliance with regulatory bodies.

Software for Calculating Eco-Friendly Shipping Routes

 Photo of a small fishing ship in the ocean to illustrate how maritime software can help with sustainable shipping practices Alt tag: Photo from the top of a container ship in the ocean to illustrate how maritime software can help with sustainable shipping practices

Traditional route planning focuses solely on distance and time. However, modern maritime software takes a multi-faceted approach that considers factors like fuel consumption rates at different speeds and environmental conditions like ocean currents and wind speed. By weighing all these variables, the software can provide a range of route options that balance efficiency and sustainability.

Additionally, dynamic rerouting features allow the system to make real-time adjustments to the planned course in response to unforeseen conditions like severe weather or obstacles, further reducing the environmental impact.

Maritime software can help with:

  • Variable Analysis: Consider ocean currents, wind speed, and other environmental factors in route calculations.
  • Optimal Routing: Algorithms suggest multiple routes optimized for time, distance, and fuel consumption.
  • Dynamic Rerouting: Make real-time adjustments to the course based on changing conditions.
  • Fuel Estimates: Provide detailed estimates of fuel consumption for each suggested route.

Integration with Renewable Energy Systems

 Large cargo ship in the sea as the sun sets photograph to illustrate how maritime software can help with sustainable shipping practices

As ships begin to incorporate wind turbines, solar panels, and even fuel cells into their energy systems, maritime software is evolving to manage these complexities. Software can control the mix of energy sources used at any given time, prioritising renewables whenever possible and switching to conventional fuels only when absolutely necessary.

This active management of energy sources goes beyond mere monitoring, becoming an integral part of the ship's operational strategy for sustainability.

The integration of renewable energy sources into maritime operations is becoming more seamless thanks to certain types of maritime software:

  • Energy Source Monitoring: Real-time monitoring of wind, solar, and traditional energy sources.
  • Priority Settings: Software can prioritise the use of renewable energy when available.
  • Performance Metrics: Collect data on the efficiency of renewable energy systems.
  • Alerts: Get notified if renewable systems are underperforming or need maintenance.

The Future of Maritime Energy

Racing yacht to illustrate eco-friendly practices for maritime software

The transition to renewable energy within the maritime sector is not just an ongoing process; it is accelerating. As advancements in renewable technology continue, such as more efficient solar panels and wind turbines, or breakthroughs in wave energy, maritime software will adapt to incorporate these new systems. This adaptability ensures that the sector can rapidly capitalise on technological advancements, making renewable energy an increasingly central pillar of maritime operations.

Emerging technologies are making renewable energy a viable option for large-scale maritime operations:

  • Adaptive Algorithms: As new technologies emerge, maritime software adapts to incorporate and integrate with them.
  • Multi-source Energy Management: Seamlessly switch between different types of energy sources.
  • Renewable Energy Forecasting: Use predictive analytics to estimate future renewable energy production.
  • Environmental Impact Modelling: Simulate the environmental benefits of transitioning to renewable energy.


Photo of yachts in the marina how maritime software can help with sustainable shipping practices

Maritime software has evolved into an indispensable tool for facilitating sustainability in the shipping industry. It has shifted from being merely an operational tool to a comprehensive solution for reducing emissions, optimising routes, cutting down waste, and integrating renewable energy sources. As the maritime sector undergoes a sustainable transformation, maritime software stands as an enabler, ushering in a new era of environmentally responsible shipping practices.

AST Networks' IRAMS software suite can help with some of the areas mentioned in this blog. Contact us today for a demo.

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