Shipowners, managers and operators from all maritime sectors are benefiting from digitalisation, optimising their operations, saving money and remaining competitive
It is increasingly important to invest in methods to monitor operations, streamline administration, use smarter navigation technology, analyse operations and use operational information to improve decision making, to avoid losing business to rivals.
Without digitalisation, shipping companies will be left behind by trailblazers and trendsetters as we head into the next decade.
Some of these forward-thinkers are featured in this issue of Maritime Digitalisation & Communications, where vessel owners and managers explain why they have adopted digitalisation technology and upgraded VSAT.
In the tanker sector, Teekay Offshore Logistics vice president for operations Regis Rougier explains how VSAT enables tankers to become floating offices and an integrated part of the network.
This is woven into the infrastructure, so if the VSAT stops working, the onboard IT will stop as would Teekay’s remote monitoring. Teekay is at the forefront of investing in internet-of-things (IoT) for remotely monitoring engines, dynamic positioning and cargo loading, so relies on VSAT.
In the container sector, Samskip has cut operating costs and reduced vessel downtime through digitalisation. Fleet director Erik Hofmeester says it helps Samskip run planned maintenance systems, paperless navigation, procurement software and performance benchmarking. It uses algorithms for data analysis, refocusing managers to enhance fleet operations. This is a lesson for all shipping companies, as Samskip is not one of the majors with vast pockets.
As more owners outsource their operations, shipmanagers such as Wallem and Thome use digitalisation to streamline operations, manage crew, agents and ship maintenance. Wallem chief executive Frank Coles says Wallem’s adoption of cloud-based processes was painless as it uses available technology and services, without customising. As he says, “This is how digitalisation is supposed to be done.”
Other shipping companies need to take note as Mr Coles has experience from both sides of the fence – technology provider and buyer – and if he has found an uncomplex route, surely others can.
Thome Group uses digitalisation to monitor the position, route and performance of ships. It provides advice to seafarers on when to change fuel or avoid adverse weather from an operations hub in Singapore.
Thome chief executive Olav Nortun explains how digitalisation enables engine performance monitoring, reviewing voyage plans, managing crew and ensuring it has “the right people and equipment for our ships in the right ports.”
“Shipping companies that do not invest in digitalisation lose out on the operational and economic benefits”
Digitalisation also helps offshore vessel operators. Seacat Services managing director Ian Baylis says the information enables predictive maintenance, motion analysis and produces regular reports for clients. Digitalisation maximises the uptime and availability of its fleet.
With all these examples, why are many shipowners still reticent to invest in digitalisation? If it is because of a shortage of information, then we can help. Riviera Maritime Media’s first of a new series of Optimised Ship Forums is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany, on 1 October 2019. There will be sessions on creating value from data monitoring, environmental performance monitoring, trim optimisation, weather routeing and speed optimisation.
Shipping companies that do not invest in digitalisation lose out on the operational and economic benefits. They will lose their competitive edge and become outdated and out-performed by those ahead of the curve.