Hapag-Lloyd has expanded its investment in satellite communications by upgrading VSAT on more container ships
It has renewed its contact with Inmarsat for Fleet Xpress connectivity on its existing fleet and committed to installing Fleet Xpress on 33 container ships from the former United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) fleet.
Hapag-Lloyd acquired UASC in May 2017 and merged these ships into its own fleet.
Under its five-year contract extension with Inmarsat, Fleet Xpress will operate on 77 container ships, including the UASC vessels.
Hapag-Lloyd director of IT for marine and maritime operations Florian Liebetrau explained the importance of extending Fleet Xpress across the fleet. “The further standardisation of our vessel communication systems is central to our maritime IT strategy,” he said. “The outstanding reliability and robustness of Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress as a product played a key role in our decision to expand our commitment.”
On the former UASC fleet, new Ka-band VSAT hardware will be installed to replace existing Ku-band VSAT antennas and below-deck equipment. Scheduled installations will enable seamless service migration based on the end of the outgoing supplier’s contract.
“Hapag-Lloyd has a mature strategy for its vessel connectivity and management which demands systems-wide predictability, reliability and integration to sustain our global vision for container transport,” said Mr Liebetrau.
This new agreement with Inmarsat includes the flexibility for Fleet Xpress-connected ships that are managed by third parties but linked to Hapag-Lloyd operations to be brought under the same contract terms without renegotiation. The five-year contract envisaged expanding data traffic and scalability to handle fleet growth.
“We are delighted to renew and expand the work we do with one of shipping’s most advanced owners for IT, ship-shore connectivity and digitalisation,” said Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout.
“Standardisation and integration are pivotal enablers for corporates. This agreement and its expansion to 33 additional ships clearly demonstrate Hapag-Lloyd’s objectives are being met by the reliability, performance and service support,” Mr Spithout added.
Fleet Xpress combines Ka-band VSAT over Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellites with continuous L-band back-up services through a fourth-generation constellation. These will be enhanced when the Inmarsat-6 satellites are commissioned in 2022.
Hapag Lloyd was one of the first major global shipping companies to commit to Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress following its service launch in 2016, transitioning all its inhouse-managed ships to Inmarsat’s maritime broadband service for vessel operations and crew connectivity.
Mr Spithout explained why major shipping companies have transitioned to Fleet Xpress in the past five years. “The average committed information rates of data acceptable to deepsea container lines today are roughly double the maximum information rates they expected in 2016.”
“On average, a container ship’s monthly data traffic in 2021 is around 3.5 times the level experienced five years ago. Inmarsat is meeting this rapid growth in demand for connectivity at sea,” said Mr Spithout.
Riviera Maritime Media is providing technical and operational webinars, virtual and live conferences in 2021. Sign up to attend on our events page