Wallem implements digitalisation into shipmanagement through cloud-based solutions and Maersk Supply Service provides dedicated onboard bandwidth to charterers
Wallem Group is using broadband applications across its fleet for advanced shipmanagement, streamlining workflows and managing maintenance and safety. The group has invested in cloud-based software and fleet management programs to enhance operations and reduce administration costs.
Wallem manages a fleet of more than 200 ships, including tankers, container ships, bulk carriers and vehicle carriers. It is introducing online solutions to manage documentation and actions required in port calls by migrating to the a3 Agency System. This unified system will reduce administrative overheads and inefficient practices, says Wallem chief executive Frank Coles.
It saves times and reduces the risk of errors by providing Wallem’s agents with an intuitive interface to assign and manage tasks. It reduces documentation, including cargo manifests, letters of authority, notices of readiness, stowage plans and bills of lading. Curated dashboards enable agents and managers to track progress during a ship docking.
Mr Coles expects agents to work smarter using a3. “As a purpose-built system, it reduces data-entry and administration through automated processes and third-party integration,” he says. “Meaning our agents can handle more port calls more efficiently, with less risk.”
“We have chosen to install a cloud-based commercial solution, without customisation – exactly how digitalisation is supposed to be done”
Wallem has implemented a cloud-based fleet management system, BassNet, with a suite of software for maintenance, safety, operational and financial management across the fleet and in its management offices. This will standardise processes and provide data analytics for greater transparency for compliance in the regulatory environment.
“We have chosen to install a cloud-based commercial solution, without customisation – exactly how digitalisation is supposed to be done,” says Mr Coles.
“In my view, offering transparency, analytics and business intelligence is the way forward for high-performance fleet management.” With this digitalisation, Wallem is integrating data analytics into its business processes. “We are going to walk the talk,” comments Mr Coles.
BassNet has become the backbone of Wallem’s fleet management. It uses a single database that is regularly updated using broadband communications. Data is automatically analysed and Wallem managers use web applications and mobile apps to review operational and safety information. It streamlines and increases fleet efficiency, asset management and safety.
Mr Coles says technology plays a major role in shipmanagement, but not at the expense of seafarers. “New technology has an important role to play in the onward march of modernising ship operations,” he says. “But attempting to supplant people with machines is misguided.” Digitalisation and automation should not remove responsibilyfrom crew on ships.
“Let’s focus on deploying technology in ways that help crew perform better,” says Mr Coles. “Technology must support and empower, not subtract and hinder.”
Analysing the performance and condition of onboard machinery and providing maintenance advice to onboard engineers using ship-to-shore connectivity enables remote equipment monitoring in far greater detail.
“It is possible to get that data off the ship and in front of experts on shore quickly and easily,” says Mr Coles. “It is possible, thanks to algorithms and machine intelligence, to analyse it from more angles than ever before.”
The next step for Wallem is to share insights gained from these processes with shipowners and crew. “In that way, we can communicate the value we are delivering by showing the performance of vessels they have entrusted to our care,” says Mr Coles. “When areas of concern have been identified, we can demonstrate how we have grappled with and overcome those problems or where further improvements might be made.”
In the offshore sector, clients of ship operators often require their own broadband connectivity. They have their own data management and communications requirements that could affect capacity of a vessel’s satellite connection for operational and crew welfare needs.
To remedy this, Maersk Supply Service is providing dedicated bandwidth for charterers on vessels operating off Europe, the Americas, West Africa, southeast Asia and Australia. It is providing this dedicated connectivity over Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress on 40 anchor handlers, subsea support vessels and platform supply vessels.
This Ka-band connection does not interrupt the vessel’s primary bandwidth, but provides capacity for charterers or third-party applications. Maersk Supply Service chief information officer Thomas Stampe sees benefits for charterers and owners from this service. “IT solutions that offer us and our customers greater control and flexibility over data management are key to any initiatives that seek to achieve smarter and more agile vessel performance,” he says.
In response to rising requirements for digitalisation solutions over VSAT, service providers have developed IT platforms, monitoring and broadband applications.
Marlink launched ITLink, a portfolio of IT services that automates IT operations on ships and reduces administration and management through online applications. ITLink involves 24/7 remote monitoring of onboard IT environments and intervention when required. It also ensures IT is compliant with existing and upcoming regulations from IMO concerning cyber security on ships.
ITLink automatically installs updates on onboard computers, removing the need to instigate manual updates. Managers can access an IT-specific online dashboard that continuously updates them with computer and server status information. ITLink is accessed through Marlink’s Sealink Ku-band VSAT and an onboard XChange centralised communications management unit.
ITLink is offered in three levels. In the initial Design phase, Marlink’s IT team will identify elements to standardise and automate to ensure the highest levels of maritime IT compliance. This team will organise a scalable, adaptable, automated and cost-effective vessel IT environment.
The Deliver phase involves large-scale implementation of IT and vessel connectivity. The Manage phase covers managing and protecting shipping IT environments with a range of maintenance services. Each phase is ring-fenced with Marlink’s cyber security Cyber Guard portfolio.
Marlink manages IT services on more than 1,000 vessels, says president of maritime Tore Morten Olsen. “Our team ensures shipping companies secure and future-proof their IT environment with cutting-edge technology and adopt best-practice procedures to meet new regulations including TMSA v3 and IMO 2021,” he says.
In June, Marlink also unveiled flexible VSAT connectivity for shipowners. Sealink Flex offers more than 100 bandwidth choices with a range of antenna reflector diameters – from 85cm to 1.5m.
There is flexibility in connectivity as bandwidth can be temporarily increased or decreased for a single day or several months, depending on requirements from crew, passengers and charterers.
Speedcast International will deliver cloud-based services to shipping after it achieved advanced consulting partner status in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner network. This designation from Amazon means Speedcast has sufficiently demonstrated its ability to deliver services using cloud-based technologies on the AWS platform. This opens cloud-based services, hosted on AWS, to shipping fleets connected using Speedcast VSAT and to onshore data and operating centres.
Speedcast can design, implement, migrate and maintain these solutions in the maritime sector. The group already uses AWS to provide Tempo software, e-learning and media services over its global satellite communications.