Cookies help us deliver the best experience on our website. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies Dismiss

Digitalisation in the maritime industry

Giampiero Soncini, CEO of IB Marine Division Giampiero Soncini, CEO of IB Marine Division

The Digital evolution is shaping the Maritime future in every aspect and all its segments, taking advantage of modern ships design and new technologies, writes Giampiero Soncini, CEO of IB Marine Division.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}Changes don’t start with ship, but with leadership

At a Digital Ship Conference in Bergen in 2011, I presented a slide where I spoke about “The intelligent ship”:

An Intelligent Ship is one where all main functions are stored and controlled centrally, filtered and transmitted ashore for knowledge, evaluation, control and, where needed, action. These Functions are:

  • Main equipment health status (PMS and CBM)
  • Fuel and luboil consumption
  • Navigation data, including position
  • Weather data and forecast
  • Reports on Quality, Safety, Crewing and Procurement issues

Two years later, at the Cyprus Maritime conference, I mentioned of a future when ships would have had no crew on board (a couple of people booed me…). Now it’s 2019, just 6 years later, and the concepts of unmanned vessels and digitalised vessels are a daily discussion matter in the shipping world.

The Digital evolution is shaping the Maritime future in every aspect and all its segments, taking advantage of modern ships design and new technologies, inspired by the latest theories of machine learning and remote-controlled vessels. Like in any technical revolution, there are many who have still not fully understood, and fully embraced, all the real and concrete opportunities and advantages digitalization can bring. Now is not the time to be skeptical by going against market trends, but the time to embrace change and the competitive advantage it can bring.

Other industries have been affected by digitalisation much earlier than the shipping industry, which is due to the inherent complexity of the maritime industry. But things are changing and, unusual for the maritime sector, very quickly: according to a survey conducted by Informa Engage on behalf of Wärtsilä Marine Business, two-thirds of shipping companies have started on their digital journey, but this is just the beginning, as 69% of them are exploring digital solutions as we speak.

Even though the rewards of a digital transformation can be significant, so too are the challenges to making it happen! Embracing digitalisation entails much more than buying hardware and software: it requires a full vision of the whole path, from understanding the actual and future needs of a fleet, to creating every step needed to make digitalisation happen. This because at times, people confound digitalisation, which is the use of digital technologies to change a business model, with digitization, which simply means digitising an otherwise paper-based model.

A typical example of digitalisation is the concept of unmanned vessels, which requires much more than just converting paper chart into digital ones.

Once could argue on whether there is a need today to go unmanned (or with a very reduced crew). Our reply is yes, and for the following reasons:

  • Shortage of qualified crews to manage vessels and equipment which becomes more and more sophisticated
  • Optimising the use of on board staff: after all, we keep crews on board for 24 hours, to make use of them the normal 8/10 hours. The rest is, from a human point of view, wasted
  • Simplicity: a vessel without crew is a vessel without cabins, toilets, galley, food storage areas, linen, cabins’ air conditioning, and so on.
  • Costs: these are related not only to the wages, but to the whole processes of managing crews: agents’ fees, transportation costs, medical visits and so on

On board crews would be replaced by shore teams who could serve multiple vessels, thus optimizing utilisation.

For such changes to happen, two things must absolutely take place:

  • Machinery redundancy. The obsolete 1ME, 1 shaft, 1 propeller scheme must go, replaced by Azipods and Diesel Electric propulsion
  • Data standardisation. Today, all manufacturers write their technical handbooks in any way, form or shape they want. Instead, data must be standardized or efforts to digitalize a fleet will continue to stumble over the issue of manual data entry

What appeared science fiction just few years ago is now happening quickly, with 4 unmanned ships already in service or undergoing trials, and two ocean going vessels planned for 2022 and 2025. As always, there will be prime movers, followers and laggards. But in IB we bet that the best ones (the early adopters) this time will win all. Suffice to look at the recently born DCSA (Digital Container Shipping Association) initiative.

Author: Giampiero Soncini, CEO of IB Marine Division

 

{/mprestriction}

Related items

  • Western Bulk joins Oceanbolt data platform

    Western Bulk has signed up with Norwegian online market intelligence start-up Oceanbolt to gather greater market insight and knowledge across its chartering, operations, and analytics teams.

    Oceanbolt provides real-time insights into trade flows, tonnage flow, fleet speed, dry-docking and congestion. The insights available in the platform are based on analysing AIS data in real-time, and utilising geospatial analytics algorithms in combination with a comprehensive polygon database.

    Western Bulk stated in a press release that Oceanbolt's primary focus on minor dry bulk, cloud based systems with open APIs and combined with a shared desire to extract the full value of data in the shipping industry, made the start-up a natural partner selection for the shipping company.

    Oceanbolt published the following statement on the partnership:  

    "We are very excited to announce that Western Bulk, a leading global dry bulk operator, has joined the Oceanbolt Data Platform to leverage our real-time insights into the dry bulk market. Western Bulk joins our platform as a data partner and will provide valuable domain expertise and data which will allow us to train and further improve the accuracy of our historical and predictive algorithms.

    “With Western Bulk’s focus on business intelligence, cloud infrastructure and open APIs, we are proud to become partners with a front-runner in data-driven shipping operations. Western Bulk will leverage Oceanbolt’s Data API and web-based Analytics Dashboard to further strengthen the analytical efforts of their in-house data scientists and analysts and to aid the commercial and operational understanding of the chartering and operations teams.”

    The partnership commenced on May 1, 2020 and marks a milestone for Oceanbolt in its quest for participating to create a digital and data-driven shipping industry. 

  • ABS publishes data and digital advisories

    ABS has launched two new Advisories designed to help harness the potential of digital technologies for the maritime and offshore industries.

  • KONGSBERG and DNV GL sign digitalisation cooperation agreement

    KONGSBERG and DNV GL have signed an agreement to enable customers of KONGSBERG’s Vessel Insight data infrastructure solution to share their data for use in DNV GL's digital class and assurance services.

  • Marlink opens new service portal for Fleet Xpress users

    Marlink has introduced a new online portal for its Inmarsat Fleet Xpress (FX) customers. The portal is a unique development that can share network data vital to service quality, availability and efficiency onboard and remotely from anywhere in the world.

  • Marlink unveils BridgeLink digital enablement platform

    Marlink has unveiled BridgeLink, a technology agnostic solutions portfolio designed to interconnect on board Operational Technology (OT) within a standardised data structure.

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

Login/Register

Register or Login to view even more of our content. Basic registration is free.

Register now

Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.

 

Address:
Digital Ship Ltd
Digital Ship - Digital Energy Journal
39-41 North Road
London
N7 9DP
United Kingdom

Copyright © 2019 Digital Ship Ltd. All rights reserved           Cookie Policy         Privacy Policy

x