Today digitalization has become one of the top topics on the agenda of many shipping
companies and is seen as a key strategic initiative as the maritime industry to help
maximize operational efficiency.
“I’m convinced that companies will continue to invest in digitalization as they have seen
the true value behind the data they have and the data they could potentially get. This means
that probably IT teams will grow while others stay the same. However, digitalisation will
not re-invent the shipping industry, but I believe that certain processes will be
facilitated through digitalization, and that future decisions will be taken on a much more
profound information basis,” says Antonio Albiero, CEO of Singular Point.
Digital developments for the maritime industry are going offshore and happening on onshore.
Looking at the offshore side, autonomous vessel seems to be one of the very prominent
offshore topics, Albiero observes.
“However, I believe there is still a long way to go until we see autonomous vessel fleets
sailing around the globe. On one hand, there are many different local regulations across the
globe that need to be respected even though that the IMO has agreed on a definition of
maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS), as well as a framework for analyzing the
applicable IMO regulations. On the other hand, looking at where the technology currently
stands, I estimate that we will see first fleets of commercial running autonomous vessels in
about 10-15 years from now,” he says.
For the onshore side, companies are overwhelmed with data coming from different sources.
“I believe that with the raising wave of digitalization shipping companies will be faced
with even more data that needs to be analyzed correctly in order to stay ahead of the
competition and to meet regulatory requirements. One of the most prominent discussed topics
onshore is the blockchain topic. Currently, there are a couple of larger shipowners
evaluating the blockchain technology and right now it’s still unclear in which direction the
blockchain discussion will sail. Thus, Singular Point positions itself as a blockchain
enabler, to be able to consume any direction blockchain technology moves,” he said.
At present, the bigger digital initiatives are led by large shipowners that have the
resources to explore new technologies and have a decent amount of experience when it comes
to digitalization. Furthermore, bigger companies are faced with a larger amount of data that
needs to be managed, making them feel the urge to have the right technology and tools in
place to handle enormous data volumes coming in daily.
Today the shipping industry is faced with a broad range of shipping technology providers
which makes it difficult to identify which of those companies can appropriately cover the
individual requirements of shipping firms.
“I think the biggest challenge for companies involved in the maritime industry today is to
find a digital solution which allows them to stay unique and to obtain quickly meaningful
insights when analyzing a huge amount of data,” Albiero said.