There are more and more marine distance tables available for calculating distances and durations of voyages on line.

What to look for in a Good Distance Table?

Before we look at the actual software, let’s take a brief look at the functionality that is offered for distance tables.

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(1) Port Coverage & Coordinate Based Distance Calculation

Not all marine distance tables are created equally.  If you are only trading your vessel in main known ports, port coverage won’t be much of an issue, however, once you get into the smaller less known ports, you will run into problems.  Excellent coverage of marine distance tables is probably around 10,000 ports while on average probably around 5,000 to 6,000 ports should suffice.

Alternatively, if the voyage begins or ends at a coordinate, rather than a port, it is important that the distance table can help you with that.

Having the ability to input several loading and discharge ports is also extremely important, along with the ability to state the loading and discharge time.

(2) Alternative Routing Point

Most marine distance tables will calculate a distance basis the shortest route, however, sometimes that is not what you want.  For instance, you may have a voyage from Continent to the Middle East or South East Asia and while the Suez Canal may be the shortest route, you may want to compare distances and costs via the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.  You need to therefore look for a distance table that offers several alternative routing points such as the Cape of Good Hope, Panama Canal, NW & NE Passage, Cape Horn, Magellan Strait and so on.

(3) Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA)

These are areas around the world with stricter controls on emissions as per Annex VI of the 1997 MARPOL Protocol.  You will need tables that can steer your clear of these areas or, at least, tell you how many nautical miles your voyage will pass through these zones to enable to calculate additional costs for fuel type.

Areas (SECAs) or Emission Control Areas (ECAs) are sea areas in which stricter controls were established to minimize airborne emissions (SOx, NOx, ODS, VOC) from ships as defined by Annex VI of the 1997 MARPOL Protocol which came into effect in May 2005.

(4) Sea Ice, Ice Line and International Warranty Limits (IWL) & International Navigation Limits (IWL)

Staying clear of these areas is important and therefore any good marine distance table will sound the alarm if your voyage goes through these areas.

(5) Weather

Having information about weather is helpful when you can see it over a map with your voyage plotted.  Some of the better marine distance tables show forecast weather and therefore you can easily see if your voyage may be affected.

(6) Piracy Areas

Knowing well known piracy areas will help you keep your insurance costs down and your voyage safe.  Several good marine distance tables will display to you on a map various piracy areas and offer alternative routing.

The Best Marine Distance Tables

We have scoured the web to find your some of the best free and paid marine distance tables

Netpas

This app comes with a massive tool chest to help you plan and manage the most detailed of any voyage. It comes with over 12,000 ports and over 60 million distances.  You can also enter multiple ports, insert loading and discharge times, allocate a percentage of the overall transit time as additional time added to account for weather and a bunch more options.  It comes with a very well planned out interface, too.

It is available for PC, IOS and Android. A free trial is available for an unlimited period, however,
you can only query distance five times per day. Created by Seafuture Inc. in Rep. of Korea.

There are some videos online that show the various options available:

Sea-Distances.org


This is purely available online via a web browser.  It is completely FREE which is a big plus!  It covers about 4,000 ports and about 4 millions distances.  Features are very limited though.  You can only get the distance between two ports and the only variable is speed!  Although there is a map, no route is displayed and can only guess it is the shortest distance.  Good that it’s free but unfortunately not much more offered the port to port distances and speed.

Ports.com

This is very similar to sea-distances.org in that it is free and only offers port to port distances.  You can input speed of the vessel to derive duration of the voyage.  Unlike sea-distances.org, a route is displayed on a map, however, you cannot change the routing and well, it looks really port.

SeaRoutes.com

This is yet another free online app, however, it comes with a few more options. You can enter multiples ports and vessel speed. Output will show you the voyage duration, the amount of time/nm in a SECA zone, etc. You can adjust the routing through 6 alternative routes. You can also add dates to your voyage. Again, it’s free.

Dataloy.com

Dataloy is a paid service running at about USD 10 / month but you need to purchase a 1 year subscription. They strangely charge in Norwegian Krone though @ NOK 1,000 per annum.  The web based app offers coordinate to port distances, port to port distances and coordinate to coordinate distances.  It also has a good selection of alternative routing points.  It calculates the distance travelled in SECA zones, offers war risk and piracy zones and much much more.  Dataloy is also fairly unique in that it offers an extensive REST based API which allows you to integrateDatalog products with your own software.

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