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Maritime leaders call for adoption of technology: Sea Asia 2017 survey

Maritime leaders call for adoption of technology: Sea Asia 2017 survey
Maritime leaders are calling on the industry to adopt new technology as a way to capitalise on opportunities and navigate today’s increasingly complex operating environment, according to new survey data released today by Sea Asia in the lead up to Sea Asia 2017.

Nine in 10 (94%) of the leaders surveyed believe that it is time for the industry to make the move towards smart shipping while another 81% recognise the importance of Big Data to the future of the shipping and maritime industry.

Leaders surveyed also highlighted that new technological developments are crucial in helping industry players transform the way their businesses operate sustainably.

The survey, conducted ahead of Sea Asia 2017, was carried out among maritime leaders to gain insights into key trends and opportunities facing the sector. Trends highlighted in the survey will form part of the discussions that will take place at Sea Asia in April 2017.

Andreas Sohmen-Pao, chairman of BW Group and the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), said: “The global economic, political and technological environment is changing, and the maritime industry needs to change with it. As we look for ways to adapt our business model, forums like Sea Asia provide a good opportunity to exchange ideas and find new solutions.”

Douglas Hsu, group chairman of Taiwan’s U-Ming Marine Transport Corp, added that the industry is still at the beginning of this journey. “A small number of industry players are shifting towards smart shipping. However, with technology developing at a fast pace today, it is important that the industry adapts quickly. To encourage this shift, industry players need to realise the benefits of welcoming technological changes in the industry,” he said.

Across the region, the industry is working alongside government and private sector partners to drive the development of technology and innovation to help ensure it is well positioned to capture new opportunities and navigate new trends and challenges.

In Singapore for example, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) Maritime Innovation & Technology (MINT) Fund has been enhanced to include the MINT-PD (Product/Solution Development) scheme. This scheme supports up to 50% of qualifying costs for projects that seek to develop technology products or solutions for the maritime industry.

Through this scheme, companies are encouraged to build on existing R&D activities and harness technologies from other industries to develop new innovations for the maritime industry.

Elsewhere in China, the State Council announced in May 2015 the ‘Made in China 2025’ policy, which highlighted the development of the world’s first smart ship as a priority development.

Khalid Hashim, managing sirector of Precious Shipping, highlighted the benefits smart shipping technology can provide. “Smart technologies in shipping will help optimise ship operations and improve ship-to-shore communications and vice versa. For example, new technologies can better enable the communication of loading and discharging schedules, and more importantly, giving crew members the opportunity to stay in touch with their loved ones on shore,” said Hashim.

Industry leaders also commented on the importance of harnessing Big Data. Hashim said: “The collection of Big Data is important in helping shipowners evaluate the performance of their vessels. By utilising the data collected in areas like machinery parameters, fuel consumption and vessel speed, shipowners can then look into how they optimise further the capabilities of their vessels,” he said.

Big Data is another area where the industry is working with government and other partners.

In Indonesia, for example, the government is bringing together data from 24 ports to monitor performance and ultimately reduce waiting time for ships and cargo. This data will also allow shipowners to monitor their containers in real time, enabling them to see if they have arrived safely and on time to destination ports.

In Singapore, the MPA is collaborating with leading IT company, IBM, to create a unified platform which will integrate real-time data and provide a consistent view of data points across MPA. This platform will collect information such as vessel positioning and weather data.

Leaders surveyed said that while there are significant benefits from this technology, the initial cost of integrating it is a barrier to adoption.

Seatrade chairman, Chris Hayman, said the industry needs to work together – and with technology companies – to embrace new technologies and find ways to make smart shipping infrastructure more accessible.

“Technological developments in maritime, smart shipping and the utilisation of Big Data will be one of the topics of discussion at Sea Asia 2017. Maritime leaders will be debating with one another, as well as experts in the technology field, the benefits of smart shipping and Big Data and exploring opportunities on how best to leverage these new trends with others in the maritime sector.

“Sea Asia has traditionally drawn high-level leaders in the global maritime scene, and next year will be no different with some of the biggest names in the industry debating, discussing and analysing key issues shaping the industry at the three-day event,” he said.