The future of maritime analytics

David Levy
June 8, 2020

UPDATED: October 2021

Back in June 2020 we wrote:

The maritime industry is in a key position to implement and act on digital transformation to improve operations. In fact, the rise in demand to match the global population increases and the popularity of e-commerce will add to the workload of ports and container movements in shipping. As a result, several smaller businesses will likely emerge to capitalize on an industry that is constantly progressing.

Shipping is undergoing a transformation and facing huge challenges in maintaining competitiveness, constantly searching for cost-effective technology and business solutions to ‘future-proof’ their fleets and assets. This is especially true as Amazon and other large tech-heavy companies start to think about moving in and disrupting the industry.  

Since then others have entered the space, most notably big box retailers such as The Home Depot and global brands like Ikea. Today, as we struggle to be rid of COVID 19's grasp, we acknowledge that change has accelerated: Whether described as "convergence" or as TradeWinds wrote recently, "Shipping finds itself fast-forwarded into a digital future. The industry has to work out how to link technologies and use all that data" (login required)

Now is the time for smaller maritime shipping companies to build the technology that differentiates themselves in order to insulate from these big and backed competitors.

Tools like maritime intelligence and analytics platforms are beginning to help to absorb, enrich and visualize data and assets in alerts, reports and dashboards so they are easy to use and share. This gives you and your teams access to insights you can apply to make fast, informed decisions for the future.

Changing trends in maritime intelligence

Regulatory changes and compliance are having a profound impact on the maritime industry. But what technologies are leaders investing in for a sustainable and viable future of maritime?

According to the Global Marine Technology Report 2030, two technology landscapes will shape the future of commercial shipping with a significant impact on ship design and ship operation.

  1. Technology originated from within the industry that provides sophistication and operational efficiency in order to gain commercial advantages.
  2. Maturing technology and ship design for transfers and operations to enhance safety, financial, and commercial performance.

The future poses many challenges, and the constant operational demand to meet changing customer needs continues to put pressure on ship operators. Luckily, the right technologies can help improve operational efficiency.

With a rise in consumption by the growing middle classes from developing countries, the demand for raw materials, food and energy production will only increase. Likewise, with land-based resources depleting rapidly, attention will turn to ocean space for alternatives, leaving companies to rely on profitable and sustainable technologies to protect the environment and maintain operations.

What’s next for maritime intelligence and analytics

Now, where does Uber come into play?

We recently spoke with a shipping executive in the industry who explained his vision for all-seeing, all-knowing technology in maritime intelligence and analytics––an Uber of the maritime industry. This offered a new perspective for the future of maritime.

The shipping industry is continuously evolving. Everything from the global economy to geopolitical events and technical innovations poses new ideas and solutions to improve and future-proof operations and make them more efficient.

Uber is simple, right? You can order a ride, share rides, gain visibility into data and pricing and even access maps to track and see where your ride is. That’s how we imagine the future of maritime intelligence and analytics. In fact, let us provide you with some similarities and differences between Uber and the shipping and crude oil trade.

From the market dynamics of ride-sharing to the market dynamics of the shipping and crude oil trade, they do share some key similarities:

  • Tramp services that feature different vehicle and tanker types (Uber X/Uber XL/Uber Lux vs. VLCC/Suezmax/Aframax)
  • The revenue for each trip depends on multiple factors and can vary significantly from day to day
  • Extremely competitive market with thin profit margins

However, there are also some differences that should be considered:

  • Ride-sharing operates in discrete local markets; the crude oil trade operates globally
  • Ride-sharing is nearly un-regulated; the crude oil trade is heavily regulated
  • Ride-sharing has no intermediaries between supply and demand; the crude oil trade relies heavily on brokers and third parties.

While Uber provides an interesting way to look at the shipping of the future, we aren’t sure if we will be seeing an all-knowing technology that operates like ride-sharing anytime soon. However, we are approaching a shift in best practice to push out competitors and move in the right direction.

Did you know that less money spent on energy and fuel means more money spent on improving productivity by investing in digital practices? When it comes to maritime intelligence and analytics, digital solutions will not only improve sustainability and profitability, but they will also revolutionize processes, customer service, bunker, vessel, and performance management and all other key aspects of your business operations.

Curious about the next steps for the maritime industry? Unsure how to adapt with new technologies? Get smart(er) about your fleet with a cloud-based maritime intelligence and analytics solution.

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