With Turkey’s shipping scene evolving rapidly, it is no surprise to see the rising maritime power on the Bosphorus catching up on the digital and environmental side of the business.

Istanbul-based shipping company Canbaz Group, its affiliate Io’s Shipbrokers and local software engineers have joined forces to produce, arguably the most ambitious software project to come out of Turkey.

Sude Akansu, head of research at Io’s Shipbrokers, speaks at the Aquatrix presentation in the Bosphorus.

“This is our most exciting venture,” said Sude Akansu, head of research at Io’s Shipbrokers and co-founder of the company’s Blue Desk environmental consultancy, while launching the product at a seaborne presentation in the middle of the Turkish Straits on 29 June.

A ship management software system designed for charterers, shipowners and engineers, Aquatrix is a machine learning tool that collects voyage data, fuel consumption and weather parameters to calculate optimal routes for commercial vessels.

“The more you use Aquatrix, the more accurate it will become,” said Erman Peremeci, a software engineer with local firm Carbon Interaktif, whose team worked on the programme for more than a year.

Much of the ongoing Aquatrix research into fuel consumption takes place within the framework of a state-backed initiative called Teknopark.

Already dubbed by some as Turkey’s Silicon Valley, Teknopark is a programme providing support to budding IT entrepreneurs.

A picture from the Io’s Shipbrokers boat party on the Bosphorus, Istanbul, 29 June 2024. Photo: Harry Papachristou

“You present a project and a timeline and if they’re accepted, you can rent space and receive tax advantages to start producing software or other products,” said Berkehan Inal, a young marine engineer and technical consultant with the Blue Desk.

The entire effort is underpinned by shipowner Canbaz Group, whose principal Obahan Canbaz is a trained marine engineer who says he likes to get his hands dirty.

“I like finding my own solutions,” he told TradeWinds on the sidelines of the Aquatrix presentation.

Canbaz’s love to tinker and use hi-tech solutions to track and weed out human error on board has made his group something of a trailblazer in environmental optimisation.

The company has been one of the early movers in Turkey in installing energy-saving devices and applying eco-hull coatings to its fleet of oceangoing handysize bulkers for nearly a decade now.

Aquatrix, which bundles many different route optimisation services into commonly used data formats, is already being tested by several Turkish shipowners.

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