Written by Rune Larsen, Service Marketing Manager | 17 January 2020
Digitalisation and smart use of ICT solutions can be used strategically to extract the added value that contributes to making your operations at sea smarter, safer and more sustainable.
Traditionally, reducing costs has been the most important, if not the only, reason for maritime shipping to embrace digitalisation. Today, going digital is becoming a necessary strategic move, to enhance both your operations and the industry as a whole.
Investing in a digital future will eventually reduce costs, but more importantly, it will increase business opportunities. The shipping companies that will thrive and succeed in the years ahead are those that harness the power of ‘big data’ and advanced analytics.
Let’s look at how you as a shipowner, manager or operator can use ICTs strategically to
In order to keep today’s demanding customers happy and coming back for more, you need to deliver products on time and in mint condition. To do so better than your competitors, you need to provide full visibility into cargo conditions and status, all the way across the seas.
Maritime ICT solutions help you meet these demands. Sensors and monitoring systems integrated into cargo systems, such as refrigerated containers, allow your customers to monitor their goods in real time and stay informed of potential delays.
Many corporations use the goods in transit as smart storage and an integral part of their logistics. Take Adidas or Nike, for example. The shoes carried in containers at sea count as part of their overall stockpile of products. There is a constant circulation of shoes throughout their supply chains – shoes leave the factory and are stored in a storage nearby, some are in containers in transit to port, some are onboard ships and are going to be available when shipped in trucks, some are in the destination store, and yet others are in the shop’s storage.
This is all accounted for, and the transit part is super important, as there might be more shoes in transit at any given time than in all other storing facilities combined. For this reason, keeping the status of these cargos under close control is critical for operations.
Different technologies that rely heavily on ICT are used for measuring, managing and reporting on environmental aspects of each ship. They are key to make the ships compliant with stricter environmental regulations, but that is not the only aspect in which ICT can help. Compliance determines the lowest set of requirements, but accelerating climate change might require more than just minimal compliance.
Advanced ICT solutions automate and streamline the flow of information between the different parties in the maritime transport chain. When your ships plan their voyage by using cargo, environmental and port data, they will take shorter routes and be able to adapt their speed to match the availability of port services.
ICT solutions allow your ships to send cargo-related information to one another, helping prevent any delays in container ports. Moving cargo more efficiently through the logistics chain will not only make your customers happier and reduce operational costs, but it will also reduce your ecological footprint – a necessity for businesses committed to supporting key UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Each time one of your ships goes into dry dock to be inspected by a classification society, you lose money due to halting of operations. ICT solutions will digitalise classification and vessel inspections, making costly downtime a thing of the past.
Shipboard sensors, robots and smart condition monitoring technologies generate large volumes of real-time data about the health and status of the ship, from equipment, systems and machinery to hull integrity. This ship data can be sent ashore to the classification society and other authorities for analysis, thus eliminating the need for inspectors to come aboard your ships.
Read more: The value of ICT in the maritime industry
Attracting and retaining a digital native crew is a major challenge facing maritime shipping companies.
Today’s seafarers are being asked to work on increasingly sophisticated equipment, against increasingly complex regulatory demands. Adding to the challenge is the fact that crew qualifications must be maintained and continuously improved, even when onboard.
As more operational decisions are made based on data streams from onboard sensors, data science skills have quickly become essential for the crew of the future.
Embracing ICT solutions and offering new technologies to young people entering the industry will contribute to making your fleet much more attractive as a workplace. Moreover, advanced data collection tools onboard are valuable for the crew, helping them make the right operational decisions – in turn enhancing operational efficiency and safety.
Going digital will enable you to provide your customers with more real-time cargo data and visibility throughout the transportation chain. It will play a vital role in shipping becoming a greener and more sustainable industry. It will help you reduce operational costs. It will facilitate the attraction and retention of a skilled crew. And so much more.
When you use ICT solutions to collect, analyse and integrate data into your decision-making process at all levels, you will grow your business and even tap into new revenue streams to become more profitable.
In essence, advanced ICTs on your ships will optimise your operational, environmental and financial performance, making you a fierce competitor in a cutthroat industry.
To be able to realise the full potential of maritime digitalisation, you need to invest in a long-term digital strategy as a strategic means.
Learn more by downloading our ebook on how digitalisation adds value to the shipping industry.
Rune Larsen is Service Marketing Manager in Dualog, with responsibilities for user experience design, visual design and marketing of existing and new services. Educated in business strategy and marketing from the Arctic University of Norway, he has more than 25 years of experience from the creative industry, where he worked as a consultant, designer and creative director in various advertising agencies and design studios. He's been orchestrating brand identity projects, design work and brand building campaigns for a wide range of organisations. He brings a passion for great design to the team, never compromising on the importance of the 'experience' part of UX. When not at the office, he enjoys hiking with his wife or is busy being a football coach for his youngest daughter. His fitness regime involves either running or cross-country skiing. Rune is an avid reader of business-related books, and he loves the occasional bottle of Barolo.