Acquisitions announced this month offer further evidence of investors piling into maritime e-navigation as shipping tackles the digital revolution
Two mergers and acquisitions involving four maritime navigation technology providers demonstrate ongoing investor interest in smart navigation systems, as more shipowners and managers adopt digital technology.
Japanese electronic navigation supplier Cornes Chart Group has acquired UK-headquartered Global Navigation Systems (GNS) in a bid to expand its e-navigation offering.
The deal follows Cornes’ purchase of US- and Singapore-based Safe Navigation earlier in 2019 and forms a global platform for integrated maritime electronic navigation technology.
Cornes Maritime chief operating officer Toshiyuki Kamoshita said it acquired GNS partially for its location and technology.
“GNS has pioneered the use of data analytics in the delivery of digital solutions,” he said.
“There is a great geographic fit between the two businesses, and Cornes looks forward to investing in GNS and developing the customer proposition even further in the coming years.”
This deal also builds on the close working relationship these companies had in navigation management software and digital services.
GNS chief executive Paul Stanley said: “Cornes will accelerate the development of Voyager and GNS’ other services.”
A second merger announced this month involved the combination of UK-based ChartCo with Canada-headquartered Marine Press to create OneOcean. This group will supply integrated navigation and compliance solutions to the maritime sector.
ChartCo chief executive Martin Taylor said the purchase of Marine Press follows the “success of three recent acquisitions”.
He explained why and how the merger was completed. “We identified Marine Press as a like-minded partner that would complement our own business and expand the offerings to our growing international client base,” Mr Taylor said.
“Marine Press has created game-changing navigation software, products and services that will complement our own integrated digital navigation products.”
OneOcean becomes a platform for e-navigation incorporating electronic navigational charts (ENCs), ECDIS software, weather information and data for regulatory compliance during voyages.
“OneOcean will build on our individual strengths of research and development, service and support and territorial reach,” said Mr Taylor.
Marine Press president Nicholas Bourque expects further investment in the product after the merger. “OneOcean will have by far the largest R&D capability in the sector and to offer innovative solutions for maritime compliance and digital navigation,” said Mr Bourque. “This take ship management into a new digital era.”
There will be a transition period towards a single OneOcean business. Then, OneOcean will be one of the largest providers of digital solutions in maritime, serving around 20,000 vessels and a variety of shore-based stakeholders.
Read more in Riviera Maritime Media’s Smart Navigation report, a supplement to Maritime Digitalisation & Communications Q4 2019
Learn more about e-navigation and voyage planning technologies at Riviera Maritime Media’s Optimised Ship Forum in London