In July 2020, Port Botany was able to minimise impacts to vessel transit schedules as an East Coast Low (ECL) caused hazardous conditions along most of the East Australian seaboard. As one of the largest container ports in Australia, Port Botany has taken several proactive measures to remove as many bottlenecks in the supply chain as possible. The Port has used NCOS ONLINE since mid-2019 as one of these measures. NCOS ONLINE is a revolutionary science-based digital port management system, which is able to dynamically and accurately plan ship transits during times of rough weather.

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Port Botany is one of Australia’s busiest container ports servicing the largest population center in the country. As an open ocean port, it is frequently subject to rough wind and wave conditions from the Pacific Ocean, posing restrictions on safe navigation and vessel underkeel clearance (UKC).

Previous port operations relied on a more simplistic treatment of UKC sometimes resulting in delays and additional costs to the ports customers. With the growth of vessel sizes and draft in recent years, the Port has recognised the need to use the best possible technology to assure that vessel traffic can prevail safely and efficiently even during times of rough weather.

A recent example of this need was demonstrated during the July 2020 ECL that pummelled the southeast Australian coast for several days. The storm produced huge swells over 6 metres offshore with gusting winds up to 46 knots. Under the limitation of previous port rules, such conditions would have exceeded allowable thresholds for safe passing for several vessels and introduced delays in the supply chain.

Common during winter months, east coast lows (ECL) are one of the most dangerous weather systems to affect Australia’s east coast. These low-pressure systems have relatively long lifecycles, typically about a week, and can produce gale to storm-force winds, heavy widespread rainfall, and very rough seas and prolonged heavy swells. Source: Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Government


Through a fully transparent, scientific framework, NCOS ONLINE was able to provide Harbourmaster, VTS team and Pilots with an accurate and clear overview as well as support on how transit windows for each vessel could be planned safely during the ECL. The system demonstrated the way each vessel interacted with the sea states and provided exact safety parameters to the PANSW team.

The outcomes of using a leading scientific based assessment of UKC were astounding. NCOS identified large safe transit windows for at least four scheduled containerships. Previous Port rules would have offered none. This prevented delays and knock on challenges for the Port.


Utilising NCOS ONLINE, Port Botany had the assurance they needed to minimise the impact to vessel transit during the ECL. This resulted in avoiding over 100 hours of transit delays, clearing the backlog 1.5 days quicker and more than US$500,000 (approximately AU$700,000) in avoided expenses for themselves and key customers.
With their investment in NCOS ONLINE, the port and its stakeholders are reaping substantial and quantifiable improvements on an ongoing basis as illustrated from events such as the July 2020 ECL.

Over 100 hours of transit delays avoided

Clearing the transit
backlog 1.5 days

More than US$500K
in cost-savings for
key customers

‘During this adverse weather event, the NCOS ONLINE software proved to be a valuable management tool to enable us to continue to move very large vessels safely and efficiently with minimal delay or impact to our customers. The system enabled us to move several vessels promptly after the passing of the event, which, under the previous static port rules, would have experienced extended delays.'

Cameron Butchart, Port Services Manager
Port Authority of New South Wales

About the client

Port Botany is a deep-water seaport located in Botany Bay, Sydney. It is one of Australia’s largest container ports and specialises in trade in manufactured products and bulk liquid imports including petroleum and natural gas. Port Authority of New South Wales manages the navigation, security and operational safety needs of commercial shipping in Sydney Harbour, Port Botany, Newcastle Harbour, Port Kembla, Eden and Yamba.

Software used

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Is NCOS the solution for you?

Seaport OPX understands the pressures the port faces during challenging weather events like ECLs and we have designed NCOS ONLINE to be the solution to support mission-critical decision-making processes. If you want to learn more about how Seaport OPX can assist your port, shipping line and resource companies in identifying infrastructure and operational
efficiencies through revolutionary technology and physics-based approach, drop us a note.