The maritime sector has been reluctant to embrace digitalisation. But there have been some early adopters who share certain characteristics.
Shipping leaders understand that digitalisation is important, but obstacles still stand in the way of full-scale roll-outs.
IS DIGITALISATION the universal solution for shipowners’ future challenges? Is it part of the solution or just a technology-driven remedy for all the industry’s efficiency and environmental shortcomings?
Research conducted earlier this year by Informa Engage, sister company of Lloyd’s List, and Wärtsilä, the Finland-headquartered smart technology business, suggested that shipping leaders are broadly positive about the contribution digitalisation can make to their businesses. But there are caveats that need to be addressed.
About one in eight (13%) shipping leaders said they found a digital strategy “extremely important”, and a further one in two (52%) describing it as “very important”. Shipowners and managers were strongly represented in this survey (38% and 21% respectively), with 20% of respondents from the container shipping sector — 28% were from the tanker sector, 20% from dry bulk, with others from offshore, liquefied natural gas, cruise, and ro-ro. Most of the trading was worldwide.
Respondents were asked for their main challenges and identified increased operational and fuel costs and market volatility as their chief concerns (25% and 24%), followed by safety, security, health, and the environment (16%). Finding skilled crews and asset finance were next in the list.