Container ship at dock_00


OMC’s world-leading DUKC® software navigation technology has an unblemished safety record of more than 23 years and brings huge economic benefits to its clients – at Port Hedland, Western Australia, for example, DUKC® has allowed port users including BHP Billiton and FMG to potentially ship out $1.1 billion of extra iron ore revenue per year.


DUKC® allows the shipping of more cargo, more safely, more often

Under very favourable conditions, DUKC® can allow large ships to safely sail up to 1m deeper – allowing them to carry more than 15,000 extra tonnes of iron ore or coal.

This is because DUKC® scientifically models, in real time, how much under keel clearance (UKC) ships have as they come down shallow channels. In most cases there are productivity gains because this dynamic technology allows ships to go deeper or use wider tidal windows than when sailing under fixed static UKC rules which are calculated to cover worst possible conditions and are therefore unnecessarily conservative.

Every extra centimetre of draft (the depth below the waterline) that a large bulk ship can be loaded to means around an extra 150 tonnes of cargo which, at $110 per tonne, would amount to nearly an extra $1.7 million for that ship.

At Rio Tinto’s Dampier Port, DUKC® has allowed an average draft increase of 60cm which means about an extra $780,000 of ore carried per ship. And at Port Hedland, the new web-based DUKC® Series 5, coupled with a targeted dredge campaign based on OMC advice and a revised tide model, yielded an extra 71cm draft on an average ship which equates to around $1.1 million over and above the benefits from DUKC® Series 4 for that ship.

OMC’s award-winning DUKC® is the only dynamic system worldwide that has proven capacity to predict in real-time the critical vertical component of navigation (what you can’t see under the water) during the actual transit. It is so accurate that, under extreme weather conditions, a 250,000 tonne bulk carrier could negotiate a channel within a metre’s clearance to the seabed.

This proven e-Navigation technology is operating in most major Australian ports and also in New Zealand, Europe and North America. It is increasingly becoming an essential decision support and risk mitigation tool for ports and waterways worldwide because as ships get larger, UKC limits are critical.

Since the first system was installed in 1993, DUKC® has undergone many releases in response to constructive industry feedback and adaption to new software technologies. The latest web-based product suite DUKC® Series 5 also offers optional stand alone  capabilities such as forecasting and dynamic port capacity modelling.

The system provides additional draught for port customers whilst maximising port safety through appropriate risk management. In addition, it has reduced significantly the need and associated costs of extensive maintenance and capital dredging.”

Captain Allan Gray, General Manager Port operations/Harbour Master, Fremantle Ports, 2009