Human behaviour: the final frontier in efficiency and operational performance management

(Photo by Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash) In recent decades, every industry has tested different strategies and technologies to maximize operational efficiency. Mechanical and software-based solutions have pushed the boundaries of human possibility by making equipment, machinery, and engines not only tremendously efficient but also extremely safe. The arrival of machine learning and artificial intelligence has taken efficiency to a whole new level. Software platforms can now sugge

What will digitalisation of bulk shipping look like? (Part 2)

How can bulk shipping digitalise, what are the main points? Digitalisation of bulk shipping commences at the interface between the shipowner and the charterer. This is where business transpires. It has been noticed in other industries that there is accelerated adoption of digitalisation when there is commercial incentive to do so or when it is a question of survival. It is no different in the bulk cargo sector. The tipping point may perhaps be apparent when there is a solutio

What will digitalisation of bulk shipping look like? (Part 1)

Digitalisation is a hot discussion topic of today, and what’s on everyone’s lips, is how will it impact shipping? Digital developments will provide opportunities and benefits but the industry-wide digital transition will take time. Here is an attempt at answering a few common questions: In general what are the biggest challenges in the bulk segment currently? The bulk segment was navigating its way out of the doldrums towards the end of 2018 with positive cash flows. The reco

Journey towards maritime autonomy

In 2015 a company operating in a niche area with a unique use-case approached us with a specific request. They wanted to know if we could provide the technology to operate semi or partially remote operated vessels. When asked if they meant manual operation with the capability of remote operation, we were surprised by their response. Their ambition was fully unmanned vessels, remotely operated with the capability of autonomous operation. Installation was completed, and the ves

A $1 billion problem that needs solving

We are all familiar with phones & the connectivity it has given us. The analogue rotary phones were cabled, but the modern cell phones are wireless & allows us to do more, in fact much more than what the landline allowed. It took over 130 years to get about 1.25 billion landline phones installed. However, by the end of 2019 in just about 12 years from its inception, it is estimated that there will be 5 billion smart phone subscriptions. It demonstrates the ‘power to scale’ wi

Business transition: from employees to robots

As technology evolves around us, we see more and more jobs are automated or certain jobs are delegated to smart machines or robots. This removes the human from the scene, although we have always found alternate work for ourselves or reinvent how we provide value. Despite popular sentiments, to most businesses, employees are mostly pure liability. If a company could operate without employees, it certainly would. Robots are ideal because once programmed they are: obedient and c

Disruption of the Greek business model

Recession in shipping is blamed partly on oversupply of vessels. When you look at number and tonnage of existing ships and the new-build orders, one finds Greek owners are front runners in both areas. But then one wonders why they want to add to the glut with new-builds when they already own so much floating tonnage. The Greeks have historically been adept at riding the shipping market cycles. Their traditional business sweet spot has arguably not been maritime transportation

Mobile transparency: the key enabler for predictive analytics

In a previous blog, I had discussed the evolution of data and communication in the marine industry and how predictive analytics is the next big thing. By presenting possible near-future scenarios like upcoming bad weather, a sudden decrease in engine efficiency, or a more fuel-efficient route, predictive analytics means your key personnel can make more informed decisions to improve safety and efficiency. However, the best information is of little use if it is not viewed by th

Predictive analytics and disruption in business

Information is vital for business. Relevant information received at the right time has always given a competitive advantage. It is interesting to see how information in the shipping industry has evolved over time – the most vital pieces of information have not significantly changed for centuries. This information includes: How much cargo can the ship carry? When will the ship arrive at the port? How much time is required to load the cargo? When will the ship depart from the p

Going Digital: from "Complexity to Simplicity"

LNG ships are specialized modes of transportation of natural gas as cargo, which by its very delicate nature of being carried in cryogenic liquid form, dictates efficient and safe cargo management on-board. LNG cargo, due to its volatility and special nature, is affected greatly by temperature and movement, causing continuous boil-off. This means the boil-off needs to be continuously dealt with on-board. Traditionally it has been burnt off in the main boiler used for propulsi

Using vessel data to achieve the UN sustainable development goals (SDG)

The UN in 2015 with an aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) also known as ‘Global Goals’. Under the SDG, Goal 14 states: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”. The goal has a specific target to be achieved over 15 years, wherein everyone needs to do their part, i.e., governments, private sector, civil society and ordinary people. With over 3 billion peop

Regulations in shipping requiring compliance in 2017

Looking ahead, there is an avalanche of regulations headed our way. While some are truly international coming from the IMO or applicable by region such as the ones put forward by the EU, there are others that are national such as those enforced by the USCG for example. However, what is confusing most people is how varied some the regulation are in scope. The EU MRV regulation is a classic example that appears to clash with the IMO reporting system, causing concern in the ship

Must we comply with both IMO and EU MRV?

The European Union (EU) Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) regulation is something we discussed in 2013 in our blog MRV more teeth than SEEMP. At the time, the regulation was perceived as something that was a long way on the horizon. Things have since begun to heat up and some of the requirements under the EU regulation must be complied with, in 2017. After the EU set itself on a clear path towards the MRV of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from ships, the IMO has em

What is this "Bubble Business"?

Although generally accepted as a promising fuel saving solution, there are only a handful of vessels fully installed with the Air Lubrication System (ALS). Results from CFD simulations and towing tank tests indicate a change in performance, even up to 10% depending upon the hull form. For ALS it appears that having a large flat bottom surface area increases the benefits. ALS works on the basic premise that using air bubbles at the interface between the hull and water will red

Digital danger: controversy and concerns of data lifecycle in shipping

The shipping industry appears to be transmuting and adapting to the current world scenario. We find ourselves with fuel prices still low, some sectors are struggling with excess tonnage while other sectors have higher than break even earnings. Regulatory compliance, monitoring and reporting requirements are either piling up or just around the corner. As the industry transforms, data driven services and analytics are being brought to the forefront and are being rapidly adopted

What? Measuring "Real-time Boil-off"?

With sensor information on board LNG vessels and enrichment using the laws of physics and mathematics, companies have developed the technology to precisely ascertain the real time rate of boil-off on an LNG vessel at any instant and in any situation that the vessel finds itself. The LNG rate of boil-off is not an unknown entity as such, as it can be calculated in test conditions in a laboratory. This has however not until recently been attempted on board in a scientific manne

Who will bin the "Noon Report"?

Virtually every shipping company today uses noon reports to understand and monitor what is happening on their ships. These reports are traditionally sent by the Captain every day, based on data gathered manually by the crew. The content and format of the report is usually pre-agreed by the company and sent at noon. The noon report has grown over the years to give a snapshot of what has happened on board the ship since the previous noon i.e., in the last 24 hours. Since the ti

“Not in my lifetime!” Really?

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their mind, cannot change anything – is a saying that we must constantly remind ourselves. Most people agree that the pace of change today is faster than it has ever been before. All indications are that change is only going to get more rapid. The maritime industry is characteristic of being steeped in tradition. While upholding tradition is honourable and is of utmost importance, I suspect that what it also m

OMG! What do we do with all this data?

The industry-wide trend of digitalisation means many companies now find themselves overwhelmed with large amounts of data. When the data begins streaming in, there naturally arises the question as to what is to be done with all this data. Data naturally brings with it new set of issues to tackle, the chief among them being accuracy, storage, security, transfer, sharing, and filtering. Most companies do not have the expertise to deal with large amounts of data. Just dealing wi