Data has the power to enable maritime operations to run more efficiently but container ship owners are demanding more from the process, says Marlink maritime president Tore Morten Olsen
Container ship operators are at the forefront of shipping’s digitalisation wave and are among the industry players seeking to benefit most from the transformative power of data. The greater operational certainty of fixed schedules means liner operators can actively reduce fuel consumption, lower emissions and improve vessel performance.
What they share with the wider industry is that for both efficiency and compliance, they need simplified data collection; systems that can remotely connect bridge and engineroom data with communications infrastructure to give them access to a data dashboard on a vessel-by-vessel basis.
Container vessel operations require the transfer of more and more diverse data to shore control centres and for this they need user-friendly, managed portals, with the assurance their data is always secure. Also critical to the future success of digitalisation as a value driver is whether owners can retain control of that data, with partners who can share the upside with them rather than take this information into proprietary systems.
These changes in the way the maritime industry views data and connectivity is a contributor to the evolution of our business. It is focused on supporting container lines to not only connect their vessels and crew, but to secure their networks, provide solutions and technologies to help them manage their data, and apply innovations to enable reductions in opex.
By combining access to data from operational technology systems such as radar, automation, power and propulsion systems, container ship operators can take advantage of scalable, remote ship management and smart maintenance to enhance and improve vessel efficiency, using secure data collection for specialised analysis and applications.
To bring this process to life, Marlink subsidiary Telemar recently launched BridgeLink, a technology-agnostic suite of software that addresses compatibility, interface and ownership challenges. By providing an open platform for unifying onboard equipment and sensors with network infrastructure and satellite IP connectivity, data from any system can be accessed, collected and shared in a single interface at sea or ashore.
BridgeLink is the latest stage in Marlink’s maritime digital enablement strategy, which already provides a platform for data-driven safety and efficiency improvements on thousands of ships worldwide, through unified smart global connectivity, cyber security services and IT network management solutions.
Through the secure collection of data from onboard systems, BridgeLink provides owners with a tool for proactive maintenance based on transferring information to shore on equipment health and status. Telemar will leverage this data in the BridgeLink Smart Maintenance Application, providing a unique support service based on remote access to OT systems to diagnose issues with shipboard equipment and support service technicians.
The new service enables shipowners to reduce potential downtime and increase the efficiency of their bridge electronics hardware and associated software. As a result, more repairs can be performed remotely and first-time fixes increased for a more efficient service when field engineers visit customers’ vessels.
This delivers value across all aspects of service and support. As well as creating a benefit for container ship operators by streamlining troubleshooting wherever they operate, the data collected can be used for site surveys, to optimise asset lifecycles and deliver further efficiencies.
The demand for tools like BridgeLink shows the container shipping sector has changed for the better. Data has the potential to make liner operations more profitable and efficient and brings the opportunity for new ways to reduce the impact of shipping on the environment.
Riviera Maritime Media will be running a series of Optimised Ship Forums in Singapore, the Middle East and Europe in 2020