Modernisation of the Shipping Industry

Maria Alonso Garcia
Jun 5 · 3 min read

Today I had the privilege of attending Asia@NorShipping event at NorShipping Trade Fair in Lillestrom, Oslo, Norway.

Distinctive individuals like Dr Lam Pin Min, the Minister of Transport and Health of Singapore, Mr Julian Bray, Chief Editor of TradeWinds, Mr Chakib Abi-Saab, CTO of OSM, Andrew Chow, the Head of Intelligence Transportation Society in Singapore and John Hahn, of Ocean Freight Exchange, actively participated in this event.

During the keynotes and panel sessions, experts discussed all technologies (Blockchain, AI, Data Analysis…) and how they can be deployed in the Shipping industry. How the industry is structured and the presence of StartUps was also an important theme.

Representants of Singapore highlighted their countries efforts in encouraging young people and Startups to operate in the Shipping industry. Ship management company Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) and entrepreneur network Techstars launched a maritime tech startup accelerator in EPS’ headquarters in Singapore last February. The Singaporean government also organizes a yearly Hackathon for the Shipping industry and in Asia@Norshipping Dr Lam Pin Min invited Norweigan entrepreneurs to participate with their ideas. Singaporean representatives finalised their statement affirming that they wish to become the centre point and ‘home’ to Norwegians engaged in global trade shipping in Asia.

During the panel session, experts explained how 70% of the companies in the shipping industry own 20 ships and that there is a mismatch between their revenues and the exorbitant prices charged by software companies in the shipping industry.

“We need cheaper options with the right business models that allows 70% of the industry to increase their efficiency.”

All speakers during today's’ Asia@NorShipping session agreed that there is a great necessity of rebuilding processes to reduce manual intervention and that this can only be done through the collaboration of many governments. As ships pass through different ports and different countries, the implementation of, for example, e-certificates, has to be done collaboratively between all the countries involved in shipping.

To close up, I would like to share my brainstorming of possible viable ideas for startups in the shipping industry and a step-by-step guide to creating an operations centre.

Brainstorming:

  • The “Uberization” of shipping to reduce wait time in each port.
  • Think about how to scale up. Something similar to e-certificates.
  • Create Bridges between all platforms involved in shipping. APIs?
  • ‘Maritime Digital Hub’: Cloud Membership to data of the industry or selling the data to individual companies to increase their efficiency.
  • Blockchain technology to track were fuel is coming from, to guarantee quality and avoid last year’s scandals

These ideas are based on the disruptive assumptions that in the next 5 years the Shipping industry will see very radical successes in the technological dimension, the structure of ownership of vessels will change, data will find a way to be monetized (the only incentive for firms to create data) and that Software as a Service will be normalized in the industry. Currently, Ship as a service is normal(ships work for different companies simultaneously) but software now is uniquely created for one boat at a time.

What is the process of creating an operations centre for shipping companies?

1. Ask experts, which metrics do you need to see?

2. Install the correct sensors in the ships and ports and connect them with the correct APIs

3. Use data analysis, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to create easy graphics and dashboards

4. Display these in the operations centre

Maria Alonso Garcia

Written by

Computer Science and Business Student. Enthusiast about a future in AI. You can find me traveling and trying new things in my free time.

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