By Stephen Conley, Maritime Market Segment Lead, SES Networks
When it comes to decarbonisation in the maritime space, meaningful operational data is essential to understand, optimise and ensure compliance within day-to-day activities. Sustainability is fast becoming a top priority for regulators and owners alike.
A cohesive understanding of a ship’s operational output must be achieved, requiring fuel efficiencies to be measured and analysed, before being translated into malleable learnings that can be leveraged within carbon reduction strategies. With fuel cost often representing over 40% of the total operational expenditure per ship, it is no surprise that the industry is looking to digital innovation to realise bunker savings. The number of possible interactions between a ship and its environment are significant and harnessing this information is no mean feat.
Shipping is not immune to the disruptive nature of digitalisation. Improving logistics by reducing the wait times at ports, for instance, will minimise carbon emissions, and effective management of ships’ data flow can help captains manage their speed and performance while also potentially reducing fuel use.
One of the strongest factors that can determine the success or failure of a voyage is weather conditions. In the face of adversity, resistance to a ship’s navigation ability can increase by more than 50% in comparison to calm seas. The frequency of severe weather incidents, despite the best global efforts to reduce global warming, is most likely to rise. By monitoring and understanding the impact of these competing factors, namely wind, wave and currents, navigation processes can be analysed and improved, resulting in efficiency and environmental savings with benefits throughout the supply chain.
Regulatory mandates, including the collation and reporting of emissions data, set in place by the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Data Collection System or the European Union’s (EU) Monitoring Reporting and Verification procedures have spurred on further digital innovation to advance decarbonisation in the industry, with various IT solutions developed to support shipping companies with compliance.
But being bombarded with a sea of new players entering the tech and innovation sector, and with a huge choice of tools and solutions, it can quickly become overwhelming for shipowners and operators to choose the right digitalisation tools in order to weigh up the need against the provision. With so much at stake, having confidence in the chosen solution is essential.
Making the most of your assets
As shipowners and operators search for the optimum technical solutions to meet the decarbonising needs for their fleets, it is important to not overlook the fact that owning a solution is one thing; having the capacity to ensure the solution runs consistently and effectively over all corners of the globe is imperative when it comes to assessing the impact of the investment.
SES Networks recognises the importance of the ever-increasing demand for well managed big data connectivity on merchant vessels and are committed to working in tandem with shipping companies to ensure that their digital strategies are achieved in a simple, cost-effective way. In the same way that digitalisation can make decarbonisation faster and more effective, high-quality satellite broadband, underpinned by superior ground infrastructure and optimal VSAT terminals can make the difference between having the capability and realising the full potential of the investment in digital solutions.
2018 was by far the most momentous year so far in the efforts to decarbonise shipping. It also marked some pronounced developments in technology, from drones and AI to blockchain and smart ports. Looking ahead, it is paramount that successful partnerships are built and nurtured across the supply chain to ensure that connectivity, digitalisation and decarbonisation are integrated seamlessly into a fleet owners’ provisions with real, meaningful learnings from data extraction and implementation.
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