Shipping Wakes Up to the New Digital Age

Shipping Wakes Up to the New Digital Age

Big data will become the ‘oil of 21st century’ for the maritime industry. This emphasises the widening spread of data flows from ships to shore, brought about by the new era of shipping digitisation. The Internet of Things is expected to change the way shipping companies operate, if data can be accurately processed.

Once considered as a very low-data industry, the maritime sector is slowly waking up to the new digital age. Remote access monitoring, condition-based maintenance, data analytics and forecasting are significantly improving and optimising numerous functions in operations and ship management. As a result, the international shipping industry is beginning to embrace the tangible opportunities that the growth of big data presents.

Nevertheless, while more shipping companies are willing to share information with a view to reaping the benefits of big data, the approach to data capture remains very fragmented. Similar data is routinely sent to several vendors and analysis is still being carried out almost entirely on a ship-by-ship basis, in processes that are both time-consuming and inefficient. ClassNK is supporting the maritime community by providing the platforms to reap the benefits of big data, while at the same time protecting data security.

The Japanese classification society’s longstanding commitment to helping shipping realise the potential of big data took a major step forward recently. ClassNK established the Ship Data Center as a separate entity with a secure shipping operations database serving as an independent information hub to manage the use of big data in the maritime industry.

Data will be collected from multiple vessels, regardless of class or company, through data collection devices on board including ClassNK’s planned maintenance and automatic diagnosis system CMAXS and will remain accessible only by individuals qualified by Ship Data Center, according to agreed permissions. Companies will be free to choose what they want to share and to specify whether they want it shared with engine makers, equipment manufacturers, shipyards or other stakeholders who might benefit.

“As a platform for big data analysis, the opportunities of the Ship Data Center are endless: from automatic vessel performance monitoring to voyage and fuel consumption data analysis. The Ship Data Center could also be used to generate reports and help engine makers arrange replacement parts or use data to improve designs”, says Takashi Nagatome, representative director of ClassNK’s Tokyo-based Ship Data Center.

ClassNK is taking a leading role in the implementation of cyber security standards for maritime data analysis. It has teamed up with the United States Maritime Resource Center (USMRC) to better understand current and evolving cyber security challenges posed by big data across the marine transportation system.

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