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GTMaritime strengthens cyber resilience with new product launches

Mike McNally, global commercial director at GTMaritime. Mike McNally, global commercial director at GTMaritime.

GTMaritime has released two product updates addressing the evolving cybersecurity and digitalisation needs in shipping.

Available for download now, GTMaritime’s secure maritime file and data replication solution, GTReplicate, has been upgraded to provide customers with greater file synchronisation capabilities across satellite networks.

New features available from GTReplicate v1.2 include:

  • Email integration, allowing shore side emails to be used as a source or target for replication
  • Ability to invoke third party applications and execute scripts before or after data transfers
  • Flexible file transfer options for a range of configurations including delta revisions
  • Migration of GTRAFT jobs to GTReplicate to reduce the load on email transfers
  • Access to the GTMaritime dashboard to monitor job history
  • Simple, efficient job creation/management to effectively manage the fleets data transfer
  • Ability to archive or delete transferred files

Delivered over FastNet, GTMaritime’s independent and secure data platform, GTReplicate v1.2 automatically configures, monitors and securely executes fleet wide file transfer tasks from a central location. FastNet optimises data streams between ship and shore by removing the need for crew intervention and reducing the number of vessel connections needed, greatly improving cybersecurity.

In addition, GTMaritime has released GTSentinel 8, the latest version of its maritime antivirus software. GTSentinel capabilities continue to develop, based on advancing GTMaritime expertise and ESET’s award-winning protection and multi-layered internet security to deliver powerful antivirus cover for ships and shipping.

GTSentinel 8 provides customers with a range of advanced protections including: machine learning; advanced memory scanning; exploit blocking; botnet protection; malicious DNA detections; and a unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) scanner. Distribution of GTSentinel 8 has been streamlined allowing customers to only download the specific product editions required.

GTSentinel’s “Live” functionality provides updates as soon as they become available and benefits from GTMaritime’s optimisation technologies to deliver the highest levels of protection with minimal bandwidth usage. Additionally, users can still opt for daily or weekly updates to meet the needs of very low bandwidth/volume data plans.

Mike McNally, global commercial director at GTMaritime, said: “As digitalisation continues to advance across the maritime sector, it is essential that cybersecurity software meets changing market needs. GTReplicate v1.2 and GTSentinel 8 are the latest fruits of our continuous product development strategy and offer greater resilience than ever before to the evolving threats our customers face.

“The protection provided by GTSentinel 8 is ideally suited to vessels which are VSAT enabled, for example. Live updates are based on millions of ESET users worldwide to provide near to real-time protection against emerging threats. With over 8,000 vessels now benefitting from GTMaritime products, we continue to invest in our maritime solutions, so that customers receive the highest level of cyber resilience and efficiency.”

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  • How much does a merchant ship pay for its VSAT communications?

    Many years ago and in another industry, not so distant from maritime connectivity… I wrote a piece providing viewpoints on “how much an airline would pay for an early release movie (early window content is the industry term). The piece got me into a considerable amount of bother, writes Joshua Flood, senior research consultant at Valour Consultancy.

    The fundamental issue being how secretive these negotiations were and Hollywood studios, airlines and their content service providers did not wish to shed any light upon the subject. Or I was terribly wrong in my viewpoints. I will stick to the former point.

    Now after many years elsewhere, (similar to Yoda in swamp planet of Dagobah), I have decided to return to one of my favorite types of pieces.

    To push myself further, I plan to write a series of pieces talking about how each type of commercial vessel (merchant, fishing, passenger, offshore and leisure) would pay for their connectivity solutions, typically VSAT and MSS.

    Merchant satellite subscriptions

    Addressing the title of this piece, merchant ships come in a number of shapes, sizes and purposes.

    Breaking out the merchant market from a bird’s eye view; there are roughly 150,000 MSS and VSAT satellite subscriptions in the market. This may confuse some, due to the popularly touted figure of 80-90,000 merchant vessels (depending on your source and classifications). Clearly, this number is less than the number of maritime satellite subscriptions.

    To quickly quash this, a significant number of large merchant vessels require multiple terminals for safety purposes. In addition, some vessels will also subscribe to a multitude of solutions for certain purposes. An example could be subscribing Ku-band VSAT services from Intelsat or Eutelsat, Fleetbroadband from Inmarsat and Certus from Iridium.

    Emergence of VSAT technology

    In the past, merchant operators were satisfied with just MSS (L-band) services, however, over the last decade the use of VSAT technology has become a dominant force within all commercial maritime vessels. There are around 20,000 VSAT merchant vessels active today.

    Looking into the key types of merchant vessels. There is an array of different variations. And when speaking about shipping, certain regions are known for their trade. Asia and Northern Europe for commodity and container vessels, as an example.

    Extra special LNGs

    One of my favourite research interviews of 2021 was with a Cypriot service provider. I won’t say which one or whom, however, it was most definitely one of my most entertaining.

    It was almost like having a conversation with the Cheshire Cat in Alice of Wonderland. I went through a list of vessel types with “the Cat” providing their average monthly airtime fees the company gets for connectivity airtime packages. Bulk carriers, a short grunt and allocated to the bottom of the list of data usage and associated ARPU revenue. MPP and ro-ro vessels followed in quick succession, just above bulk carriers. General cargo and container vessels pique his interest and were placed in middle position of the rankings. PCC and vehicle carriers excite Mr Cat further.

    Finally, we reached tankers, and LPG and LNG types cropped up.

    With a delightful purr, “Beautiful, Joshua! We love both, although LNGs are extra special. LNGs are our favourites!”

    I still chuckle at this answer.

    VSAT connectivity – let’s talk numbers

    Moving away from this abstract narrative, the merchant market is highly fragmented and different vessel types have a big difference in their respective airtime ARPU, depending on usage type, areas of coverage and congestion of such areas.

    In general, globally, the VSAT connectivity ARPU for a bulk carrier will just surpass $1,300 per month. An LNG tanker will be in the range of $3,000 to $4,000 per month with lucrative value-add service inclusions.

    As such, the customer type and their fleet of vessels are very important. Also, I will also state the more prestigious customers know how valuable their business is worth and therefore expect very good service and also heavy discounts. In fact, some prestige names are not as lucrative as some outsiders perceive.

    In 2019, Valour Consultancy estimated the average connectivity package per merchant vessel was around $800 (combining both MSS and VSAT services). MSS service per vessel are less than $500 per month generally.

    For Ku-band, this works out around $1,500 and Ka-band around $1,300. The latter will have gone up in 2020, too. For more information on the final point and our latest maritime connectivity research, please download our latest report brochure for more information here.

    Average Monthly Connectivity Revenues in Merchant Vessel in 2019

    MSS only

    <$500

    MSS & VSAT

    $800

    Ku-band

    $1,500

    Ka-band

    $1,300 (this will have increased in 2020 & 2021)

    Bulk Carrier

    $1,300

    LNG

    $3,000 to $4,000

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