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Rolls-Royce focuses on digitalisation in marine as markets remain challenging

Rolls-Royce focuses on digitalisation in marine as markets remain challenging
Rolls-Royce is focusing on the shift from mechanical to electrical and digitalisation for its marine business as it expects challenging markets to continue in 2017.

The ongoing weakness of the offshore market saw Rolls-Royce’s marine business reporting a wider first half net loss of GP31m compared to GBP31m in H1 2016. Its marine business orderbook declined 9% first half of 2017 despite an improved orderbook intake of GBP449m compared to GBP362m in the same period a year earlier.

“Offshore demand remained very weak, reflecting the impact of the continued low oil price and reduced investment by oil majors and their key suppliers. Service revenues were more stable, but remain at historically low levels,” Rolls Royce said.

The company is focusing on the future with increased R&D investment to meet the demands of a shift from mechanical to electrical propulsion and digitalisation of the marine industries.

“Examples include the launch of a new Energy Management solution to drive down ship operating costs, and the first power-by-the-hour contract for two cargo ships for Norlines. There was also further uptake of our Autocrossing system, which automatically controls vessel speed and optimises energy use,” Rolls-Royce said.

It added: “Progress in our strategy for developing remote and autonomous ship operation included securing third-party funding to help develop a centre in Finland to focus on future land-based control centres, and establishing a Fleet Management Centre in Norway for remote optimisation of ship operation.”

Rolls-Royce also signed a contract with Svitzer to jointly test remote manoeuvring of commercial vessels after it successfully completed a demonstration.

Looking ahead recovery of the marine and offshore markets is not expected until next year. “We expect the outlook for our traditional offshore markets to remain challenging throughout 2017 and to only start to stabilise in 2018; we expect to benefit from a strong efficiency and internal cost focus when offshore markets eventually start to recover,” the company said.

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