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The role of class in navigating digital opportunities

Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO, DNV GL Maritime Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO, DNV GL Maritime

“Tectonic shifts are within maritime on three fronts right now,” claims Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO, DNV GL Maritime.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}“We have the shifts in the market, which are increasingly unpredictable, shifts in regulations, headed by the upcoming 2020 sulphur cap, and shifts in technology, driven by the constantly evolving nature of digitalisation,” he explains.

Ørbeck-Nilssen believes classification societies are independent third parties, or “helping hands” that exist to ensure industry meets regulations and operates with the safety and quality that all stakeholders demand of it. Classification societies must help customers with the uptake of new technology, adapt to it, and position themselves to seize opportunity and mitigate risk.

“We’re not here to push one technology, product or solution, but rather to use our huge breadth and depth of competence, from operations and relationships spanning the globe, to help customers plot the best course forwards,” he says.

Ørbeck-Nilssen says that DNV GL has invested a significant amount in R&D, five per cent of its annual revenue, and believes there are not many others that have done to the same extent.

He believes that appreciating the value of data and sharing it is vital to success of evolution.

“In the new digital reality data is our currency,” he says. “Think of it as your cash. In the old days people would stuff it under their mattress. This keeps it safe, but also dormant, unutilised. However, when you invest it with others, when you share it on a platform – e.g. in a bank or investment fund – you can utilise that currency and create new value. Suddenly it’s active; it’s working for you.

So, a shipping company that collects data but stores it in silos is wasting opportunity. It should be shared throughout organisations, and sometimes throughout the industry, so we can learn from it; enhancing emission performance, increasing efficiency, improving safety.”

Ørbeck-Nilssen explaisn that he sees more and more of DNV GL’s customers moving to its Veracity platform to ensure fully digitised, automated data collection and verification for compliance with the EU MRV scheme.

“There are huge benefits to adopting an open, transparent approach to data, and there’s a growing appreciation of that within the industry. As a result, we see more and more of our customers moving to Veracity.”

However, with increasing opportunity comes increasing threat. Cybersecurity is a big issue these days and classification societies have a significant role to play in reducing risk. Tailored approaches to cyber-security are vital, says Ørbeck-Nilssen.

He is a strong believer that letting certified ethical hackers explore vessel systems to find potential loopholes allows owners to address them before someone else does. {/mprestriction}

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