“(DUKC®) means operators can be very precise about loading a vessel while still clearing the depth limits to leave the port… Even as volume has grown, shipping numbers haven’t had to keep up because we can get more on a ship.”

Roger Johnston, CEO,
Pilbara Ports Authority, 2019

Image courtesy of Pilbara Ports Authority

“(DUKC®) means operators can be very precise about loading a vessel while still clearing the depth limits to leave the port… Even as volume has grown, shipping numbers haven’t had to keep up because we can get more on a ship.”

Roger Johnston, CEO,

Pilbara Ports Authority, 2019

DUKC® Story

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.

DUKC Story