The DUKC® Planning solution provides planning advice to Regulators and Schedulers to enable them to accurately forecast a ship’s optimum loading and sailing times. It provides pre-transit planning advice from months ahead until sailing.

Ships are getting bigger, ship drafts deeper and ship traffic is increasing. Ship sailings are therefore increasingly restricted to certain stages of the tide when water depth is sufficient to allow deep draft ships to safely transit. At the same time ports, port users and waterway authorities are under pressure to make optimal use of the available waterway capacity without compromising safety or prohibitively expensive capital dredging campaigns.

Planning -2014


Load and Window Planner module

This module is designed specifically to assist with the planning of ship arrivals, departures and loads for a specific waterway.

Safe sailing times (tidal windows) and maximum possible departure drafts are computed based on dynamic under keel clearance (UKC) calculations which include the latest available high resolution bathymetry data, prediction of tidal and non tidal water levels, waves and currents, knowledge of the ship load state (draft, trim and stability) and predictions of the associated dynamic ship motions (squat, heel and wave response.)

Schedules/plans are automatically updated based on the latest available met-ocean data and users are alerted, for example, if safe sailing windows are closing. This module is capable of predicting tidal sailing windows and ship drafts from months ahead until sailing.

Key features:

  •  Predicting arrival and departure tidal windows
  • Load and draft planning
  • Planning from hours to months ahead (depending on forecasting models and solutions)

Typical questions the Load and Window Planner can answer:

  • To what draft can I load ship X and still safely depart on the next high water?
  • Ship X is delayed, when is the next available sailing window to arrive/depart the port?
  • How will a change in ship speed affect its tidal window or maximum possible draft?

Likely Users:

  • VTS Officers
  • (Duty) Pilots
  • Schedulers
  • Agents


Port Optimiser Module

The Port Optimiser module optimises the planning/scheduling of multiple ship movements simultaneously. It considers UKC requirements for each ship and solves the complex problem of minimising constraints to make optimal use of the available waterway capacity and port infrastructure.

For example, this module can be used to determine optimum sailing windows and drafts for a convoy of ships departing on the same tide to maximise throughput. Operational constraints include minimum ship separation distances, tug availability, lock availability and tidal stream strength.

Key features:

  • Based on dynamic UKC
  • Planning of drafts, arrival and departure tidal windows considering multiple ships simultaneously
  • Optimises multiple ship movements on a single tide
  • Allows maximisation of port throughput using existing infrastructure
  • Plan hours to days ahead (depending on forecast solutions)
  • Integrates real-time met-ocean sensors and high resolution bathymetric data

Benefits include:

  • Planning advice allows optimum and safe use of existing waterway capacity without significant investments in capital dredging campaigns
  • Automates complex decisions about the planning and optimisation of multiple simultaneous ship movements


Typical question the Optimiser can answer:

  • I have five ships leaving on the next tide. To what draft does each ship need to be loaded and in what order should they depart to maximise throughput?

Likely Users:

  • Terminal operators
  • Shipping schedulers