Container ship and terminal operators are working together to produce digitalisation standards to optimise commercial and technical operations
Ocean carriers are working together to produce blockchain-driven data exchange facilities and to create standards and guidance for digitalisation in container shipping.
In February this year, shipping lines CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd and OOCL agreed to collaborate with port operators on a data exchange platform for all shareholders in the network.
Terminal operators COSCO Ports, Hutchison Ports, Port of Qingdao, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group also joined the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), which will develop the platform. CargoSmart will be the technology solutions provider and platform operator on behalf of GSBN.
This platform will streamline data sharing along the supply chain, once GSBN secures regulatory approvals to form the network.
Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) is creating standards and written guidance for digitalisation in this sector. In September 2019, DCSA published the first of its standards documents DCSA Industry Blueprint 1.0. “The purpose of this document is to establish a consistent vocabulary and propose current-state standards for container shipping processes,” says DCSA chief executive and statutory director Thomas Bagge.
In January 2020 DCSA published an Interface Standard for Track and Trace (T&T), based on the Industry Blueprint 1.0.
“Our T&T interface standard puts forth a common set of processes, data and interface standards to enable customers to track containers across DCSA’s nine member carriers, with uninterrupted visibility,” Mr Bagge tells Container Shipping & Trade.
DCSA is planning to introduce guidance on internet of things (IoT) solutions and technology in May 2020. These IoT standards should ensure interoperability of devices mounted on containers and gateways in terminals, warehouses and vessels.
“The aim of these standards is to enable scalability of IoT solutions and ensure operational efficiencies and interoperability between carriers,” Mr Bagge explains.
In March 2020, DCSA published a cyber security implementation guide to ensure vessels are ready for IMO Resolution MSC.428(98) on Maritime Cyber Risk Management in Safety Management Systems.
The best practices outlined by DCSA provide all shipping companies with a common language and a manageable, task-based approach for meeting IMO’s January 2021 implementation timeframe.
For the future, DCSA is in discussions with industry stakeholders to determine how digitalising documentation could be standardised. This could enable industrywide adoption of electronic and paperless bills of lading.
Mr Bagge implores the container shipping industry to adopt these standards to enable digitalisation to benefit all stakeholders. “These standards will not move digitalisation forward unless they are adopted en-masse,” he says.
“We will do everything within our charter to drive adoption, but it is up to the rest of the industry to implement these standards within their organisations.”
Digitalisation will improve efficiency, reduce costs and create a better customer experience. It will enable all stakeholders to monitor shipments and transactions and help ship operators lower their energy and maintenance costs.
“We are at the cusp of a rapid increase in digital adoption that will take us to a wide range of standardised technology implementations by 2025,” Mr Bagge forecasts.
“Our container shipping industry is recognising that technology standardisation is crucially important to helping every organisation innovate and create new value for customers.”
Container ship operator Torvald Klaveness is a vanguard of digitalisation adoption as it operates its own digital division and collaborates with technology providers to optimise operations.
“We are developing the latest and most innovative technology on board our ships, such as sensors and remote surveys,” says Klaveness Asia non-executive board member Punit Oza. “Most of the current technological solutions are targeting the ship and onboard systems in areas such as maximising efficiency and performance, while reducing carbon emissions,” he tells CST.
Torvald Klaveness’ technology implementation includes using IoT to reduce fuel consumption and enable condition-based monitoring and predictive maintenance.
“Within the organisation, the culture of innovation is catching on and digitalisation has become a key priority,” says Mr Oza. “We have mapped all our commercial processes and are actively looking to standardise and automate these as much as possible.”
It is collaborating with DNV GL and Arundo Analytics on a fleet rollout of IoT technology. Together, they piloted the installation of sensors on vessels’ auxiliary machinery for measuring temperature and other parameters to lower fuel consumption and maintenance requirements.
Torvald Klaveness will also use a cloud-based platform from VesselMan for vessel monitoring and supporting condition monitoring of assets, replacing manual processes where possible and supporting higher levels of automation. This will provide insight into equipment condition, a detailed overview of the different components and identify issues where immediate action is needed.
For IoT and crew communications, Torvald Klaveness uses the latest VSAT satellite and radio communications. It has also outsourced management of its onboard IT networks. Since Q1 2019, it has used Marlink’s Sealink VSAT and XChange centralised communications management devices for operational and ship communications on its ships.
Marlink is also providing its Palantir KeepUp@Sea remote IT services for monitoring onboard networks, troubleshooting potential issues and ensuring software, licences and antivirus are always up to date.
Evergreen Line has introduced GreenX, digital portal for instant quotes and booking services with the carrier.
Powered by freightech supplier BlueX Trade, this platform is open to enterprise shippers, NVOCCs and freight forwarders. They can obtain spot rates for secured space and book within minutes directly with Evergreen Line.
GreenX provides information such as route searches, instant freight quotes and bookings. It allows customers to make payments and submit verified gross mass and bills of lading instructions online.
GreenX customers will be able to access trade services such as freight financing, insurance, customs brokerage, trucking and warehousing in the near future.
Evergreen Line will initially offer GreenX facilities on routes from Asia to North America, Europe, Mediterranean, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia, South Africa and intra-Asia trade lanes.
Cyprus demonstrates digitalisation leadership
A new research and development (R&D) institute in Cyprus has raised more than €40M (US$42M) as the nation’s Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) ramps up its support for digitalisation programmes.
Cyprus shipping deputy minister Natasa Pilides says SDM is implementing digital tools to optimise shipping operations and administration. Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute (CMMI) has raised €15M from the European Union, another €15M from the Cyprus Government, and more than €10M from industry for new facilities on the island and R&D projects.
Ms Pilides tells CST SDM is supporting CMMI to develop a platform for electronic certification and to store and display seafarer information. “We are in the middle of implementing an online registry of vessels and fostering innovation in Cyprus,” says Ms Pilides. “We are supporting CMMI and other initiatives while funding and promoting innovation.”
CMMI chief executive Zacharias Siokouros says around €15M will be spent on infrastructure and equipment, including a new research base in Larnaca, Cyprus, and a branch in Limassol. The rest will be spent on R&D in maritime and marine sciences and digital platforms.
With this support, Ms Pilides says a user-friendly program for the online ship registry should be available later this year along with a new platform for uploading, storing and accessing ship information for inspection purposes.
A pilot project will commence in Q2 on the fleet information sharing platform (FISH) being developed by Prevention at Sea and backed by SDM. This is an online ship data repository designed to standardise, automate and reduce the time spent in the ship inspection process and collecting ship data for review by third parties.