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Digitalisation projects in shipping – what have we learnt?

Representatives from Hapag-Lloyd, Bourbon, J Lauritzen, Heidmar, and GNV Spa share what they’ve learnt from digitalisation projects across the industry.

In this video with Julia Kuehnbaum, Director of Hapag-Lloyd, Victor Chevallier, Vice President Transformation at Bourbon, Claus Winter Graugaard, Senior VP of Head of Fleet Management at J Lauritzen A/S, Duncan Ross, Commercial Projects Manager at Heidmar UK Limited, and Mattia Canevari, Energy Manager, GNV Spa discuss the key takeaways from digitalisation projects of the past year.

Watch the interview or read the transcript below.

“Start, and Just Try”

The digital transformation needs to start somewhere, and the responsibility to introduce digital innovations falls onto the organisations’ decision makers.

“You have to start, and just try”, Julia Kuehnbaum, Director of Hapag-Lloyd, said. “You have to be brave enough to do so.”

Change Management

When talking about shipping’s digital transformation, it is key to mention the development of a digital culture. Leadership and management, therefore, have a crucial role in the success of a company’s digitalisation efforts!

Attitudes Towards Technology

There’s a lot that digital innovations can do to enhance operations and businesses, but only when the integration of technology is met with the right attitude.

“Technology is not an issue”, Victor Chevallier, Vice President Transformation at Bourbon, said.

Technology can be perceived as disruption, but Claus Winter Graugaard, Senior VP of Head of Fleet Management at J Lauritzen A/S, noted that the industry is “maturing and understanding digitalisation”, and realising its value for the individual operator, suggesting that the industry’s view of innovation and technology may be changing to the positive.


“Everybody is doing their own projects and trying to find clever partnerships,” Graugaard said.

Collaboration has been a key theme at the recent GST & Shipping2030 Europe Conference, and will be crucial in the evolution of the maritime industry. Without outside knowledge and experience, these developments and projects can be expensive and futile.

“It’s often difficult to get the real drivers […], and the right moves to get to the right direction going forward. Whereas, if you have the right collaborative partners, you can take a step ahead straight away,” Duncan Ross, Commercial Projects Manager at Heidmar UK Limited, explained.

Identify Your Goals

“Efficieny, cost reduction, and profits” are what Mattia Canevari, Energy Manager at GNV Spa, is looking for in digitalisation.

But without a clear goal, what is the point of digitalisation? A target can focus the efforts of a company, and provides something to measure the project’s success against, while narrowing down the available list of technologies that can help you achieve that goal.

“There is so much flood out there, a lot of people don’t know exactly what they want, and it’s difficult to put a finger on the real benefit for their organisation”, Ross said.

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