Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Home Technology Why Real-Time Data Matters to the Maritime Industry

Why Real-Time Data Matters to the Maritime Industry

Over 90% of world trade is in the hands of the international maritime shipping industry. Every year, it moves more than USD 4 trillion of goods. For shipping companies, there’s a lot of pressure to remain on schedule, protect the cargo ship and crew, and ensure profitability. And we can’t say it’s easy. 

This interactive map of the world’s main shipping routes provides a glimpse of the industry’s complexity. 90,000 vessels cross paths as they transport goods from one continent to another!

It’s clear from this map that the maritime industry involves an intricate system of transportation. To complicate things, ports and vessels are also subject to the forces of nature, which are becoming harder and harder to predict. Thus, shipping companies must be able to adapt to changing situations and act fast.

We believe that with real-time big data analytics, however, the maritime industry can better navigate these unexpected challenges. 

What is Real-Time Big Data? 

Big data is a field that extracts and analyzes data from data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Real-time capabilities mean that those insights are delivered immediately after collection. 

How Does Real-Time Big Data Help The Maritime Industry? 

Maritime companies generate data from different sources and in several formats. Traditionally, these insights are fixed, siloed, and inconsistent. Actioning this information is time-consuming and a major pain point for shipping companies.  

With big data tools, this inflow of data is collated and organized in a cloud-based system. It then analyzes and spits out the relevant data in real-time, which promotes better decision making. Nothing is left to intuition or chance—unlocking opportunities to drive greater efficiencies.

Efficient maritime operations and logistics

Overall operations and logistics, for example, become much more efficient with real-time data. Companies can obtain information through GPS and RFID tags to help locate containers and ships immediately. Data technology also helps synchronize communication to manage ship arrivals, berthings, and departures safely and efficiently. And in case of an emergency, non-availability of the labor, or terminal allocations, real-time data helps ships plan their routes and speeds accordingly. 

Due to climate change, this ability to pivot has never been so relevant. Although the interactive map above demonstrates that the global maritime industry is a well-oiled machine, the ocean’s weather—currents, waves, and wind—are more unpredictable than ever. Real-time data streamlines decision making and supports ad hoc navigation to ensure companies maximize returns. 

Fuel-efficient routing 

By having access to real-time sea state observations—currents, waves, and swell—vessel operators can re-route according to current ocean and weather conditions while optimizing fuel efficiency. Inefficient weather routing oftentimes leads to increased time spent at sea, which not only disrupts and delays the supply chain, but can also increase fuel burn and CO2 emissions.  

In addition to increasing voyage earnings, fuel-efficient routing also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, supporting the latest GHG reduction strategy developed in 2018 by the International Maritime Organization. The initial strategy envisages that the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping should be reduced by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. What does 50% look like? As documented in this report, the IMO calculated that vessels released 1.12 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide the year before, in 2007. So we can guess that emissions need to be reduced by 560 million metric tons. That’s equivalent to the emissions from 102 million cars!

So are we saying that real-time data helps reduce fuel costs and GHG emissions? Yes, yes we are. Not a bad day at the office. 

Is Real-Time Big Data Safe From Cyber Threats?

We hear this question a lot, and rightly so. The convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) onboard ships—and their connection to the internet—creates an increased attack surface that requires greater cyber risk management.

On the IT side, the chances of cyberattacks can be mitigated through proper implementation of encryption techniques like blockchain technology. From an operational standpoint, IMO maintains that effective cyber risk management should start at the senior management level—embedding a culture of cyber risk awareness into all levels and departments of an organization. You can read more about this in BIMCO’s Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships.

Full Speed Ahead for the Maritime Industry

Is it possible that the maritime industry can become bigger and better? More lucrative, while emitting less GHG emissions? We believe so.

Knowledge is power. By implementing real-time insights in daily operations, shipping companies are well-positioned to navigate anything that comes their way. And how this year has gone, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have an edge on the unexpected.

Curious what real-time data looks like? Take a peek at Sofar Ocean’s publicly available weather network dashboard, which offers real-time open-ocean marine weather observation data from over 500 weather sensors worldwide!

“This article is originally posted on Sofar Ocean

- Advertisment -

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

LATEST ARTICLES

World Ocean Summit Virtual Week

We tackle the hard questions The 2021 agenda will deliver fresh, robust, and action-oriented insights into creating a sustainable...

Lorient, France will host the start of The Ocean Race Europe

The French city of Lorient in Brittany has been appointed as the starting point for The Ocean Race Europe.

Baltic 68 Café Racer Is a Posh Green Power Sailing Yacht Nearing Completion

The vessel you see in the cover photo comes from one of those builders that like to make dreams happen, Baltic Yachts....

Lürssen shipyard delivers Project Opus, the 141.6-metre Nord

On the 19th of February 2021 the 141.6-metre Nord (previously Project Opus) left the Lürssen shipyard and began her maiden voyage.

Youth Foiling Gold Cup: first event of the year for Young Azzurra

The Youth Foiling Gold Cup will be the first international event of the year for the Young Azzurra team, the sporting project...

Onda Tenders – Limousine tenders for a new generation

When we think of the conventional limousine tender, most of us bring to mind a classic watercraft, perhaps styled after the popular...

Yanmar powers Award-Winning Norwegian hybrid Fishing Vessel

Yanmar has delivered engines for an innovative hybrid power solution for the live fish carrier, Ro Vision, the winner of Norway’s Boat...

RP-Nauta 100 Morgana: genesis of a smart custom, the film

Delivered in December 2020, the Custom RP-Nauta 100 Morgana completed her maiden voyage from Cape Town to the Mediterranean Sea 30 days after her...

Alexia Barrier’s Fighting Spirit Gets her Across The Vendée Globe

On a perfect Sunday morning, with calm seas and just as the new dawn was breaking on 28th February, at  06 23...

36TH America’s Cup match Covid19 restrictions update: race postponed

36TH America’s Cup match Covid19 restrictions update: first weekend of the America’s Cup Match postponed. In light of the...