The maritime sector is looking closely at how working together and sharing data can make operations more efficient and environmentally friendly. This collaboration isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s becoming a must-have to meet industry challenges head-on.
Orchestrating something as complex as a sector-wide energy transition requires unprecedented levels of cooperation. As Inmarsat President of Maritime, Ben Palmer, told an audience in Singapore in May 2023, “At this stage, what is needed is an industry wide shift in mindset with a long term commitment to open collaboration; the adoption of a more transparent, more collaborative open systems mindset. Shipowners, equipment suppliers and connectivity providers need to work together to realise more efficient processes and new business models. Ultimately, that collaboration across the supply chain will be critical to shaping a connected maritime future that is both sustainable and profitable for all the actors in it.”
|“We are looking at all opportunities to share data. From more accurate orchestration of multi modal port traffic, to providing accurate cargo data in real time, we see an opportunity for €400 million of benefits to users of the Port of Rotterdam alone. A single delay might seem insignificant, but each delay accumulates over the entire supply chain, adding up to a decarbonisation and efficiency opportunity of significant size and scope.”|
Saskia Mureau, Director Customer Digital at Port of Rotterdam
Data sharing and collaboration can be thought of as existing on two scales; micro and macro. On the micro scale, data can be shared between people, departments, regional offices, and suppliers and trade partners. Use cases are likely to be deeply subjective to a business or an operation. For example, a charterer and shipowner might collaborate via a data sharing platform to make mutual efficiency gains.
On the macro level, businesses and service sectors collaborate to bring about market-wide change. The approaches needed to make these micro and macro collaborations successful are very different since widespread change such as selecting alternative fuels requires the coordination of far more moving parts and ultimately needs widespread consensus.
Commenting on the importance of effective data sharing and collaboration for decarbonisation, BHP’s Sarah Greenough, told a 2023 Singapore Maritime Week audience that, “BHP’s decarbonisation strategy really has two critical enablers that are fundamental to our success. The first one is our ecosystem partnerships and how we strategically partner with people to deliver on future fuels, onboard innovation, or enhancing our chartering choices for example. The other critical enabler is certainly data democratisation and the technology we use to enable that.”
Greenough described how collaboration will be necessary to harness rapidly increasing sophistication in maritime technology, particularly for efficiency and decarbonisation use cases: “I think we’re at a tipping point where we’re going to be overwhelmed with the power of AI, IoT sensors, and process automation. We haven’t seen the full capability of them and we’re not fully aware of their power. Historically, we’ve used data and analytics quite successfully in the safety space, for example, predicting an incident before it occurs, or using data and insights to better predict an ETA and manage variability. But I think now we’re heading into a space where sustainability credentials are coming into their own. Being able to use cost, safety, and sustainability data and really look at those three elements when making more informed chartering choices, is as important as how we are measuring our emissions to meet our 2050 goals.”
Greenough’s fellow conference panellist, GCMD CEO Lynn Loo, was also asked about the key opportunities for collaboration and partnership. Drawing comparisons from the global fuel supply chain, Loo highlighted the importance of data collaboration for developing traceability in alternative fuels infrastructure. Commenting on the number of times fuel quality data is synthesised, allowing for errors to creep in, she said, “This becomes problematic when you’re dealing with drop-in green fuel replacements that command a green premium. How do you know what you’re paying for is what you’re actually getting? Assurance on the quality and quantity of the fuel – and ultimately, the abatement potential – becomes really important. This is where data becomes vital.”
Loo believes that data sharing and collaboration provides the key to developing a robust framework for green fuels traceability and assurance, concluding, “Having methodologies that enable you to get the data required to make it transparent what you’re buying and what you’re paying for, will be increasingly important. This will also require collaboration and partnership across the ecosystem for it to happen.”
In essence, the maritime world is realising that teamwork and transparent data sharing are practical steps to a greener, more efficient future. It’s not just about big ideas; it’s about practical collaboration at every level.