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A core aspect of temporal complexity in the design of non-transport vessels is the uncertainty related to the future market and contract opportunities, and the corresponding changeability that should be incorporated into the ship design to meet this uncertainty. The development of an appropriate design specification for a new ship represents a core strategic decision for ship owners as part of a fleet renewal or expansion programme, with a high financial risk and a long time horizon of typically 20-30 years. This type of temporal complexity is one out of several complexity aspects to be handled as part of a ship design process.
In this paper we model possible realizations of an uncertain future for a vessel using the Epoch-Era Analysis (EEA) method. Here, we use the epochs as the primary instrument for capturing major market developments, such as the opening of new offshore areas, new emission regulatory regimes, or the availability of new, disruptive technologies. From these, more specific epoch variables are derived, for which specific contract opportunities can be generated. The epoch-specific performance of the vessels is found by solving a Ship Design and Deployment Problem (SDDP) of concurrently identifying both a preferable ship design and the corresponding path of consecutive contracts that maximizes total revenue.
We present a case study related to the design of an Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) vessel. The study illustrates the complexity in striking the correct balance between optimizing the vessel for an initial scenario, while at the same time providing addition performance capabilities to be competitive in the context of future market requirements.