Digitalization within the Shipping Industry

Digitalization is vital for ensuring smooth operations in any industry, including shipping. Unlike most industries, however, the shipping industry has started utilizing automation and digitalization only recently. By taking advantage of digital solutions and technologies, companies plan to improve how they operate while increasing competitiveness. 

Shipping companies are also realizing the importance of digitalization because it could massively help them in their path of decarbonization. Carbon emissions released by ships during the mid century damaged the environment in more ways than one and companies are trying their best to undo the damage gradually. 

Data obtained various information sources can come in quite handy for shipping companies when it comes to making decisions, quality control, verification, monitoring and much more. Digitalization is vital for sustainable and efficient long term operations and more and more companies are realizing it. 

Digitalization and Its Impact in the Shipping Industry

The shipping industry introduced digitalization during the latter part of the 90s. However, the true breakthrough happened with the introduction of the AIS (mandatory automatic identification system). The AIS was introduced in 2002 and was a huge step towards the evolution of the shipping industry. 

A few years later, commercial subscription services were introduced and were quite handy for showing the position of different vessels. This technology was incredibly handy for ship operators, as it helped them spot the ships of their competitors. Knowing where competitor vessels were located offered shipping companies plenty of advantages, especially when negotiating fixtures. 

At the beginning, these services were quite limited and only detailed the ship’s position if they were close. As time passed, however, the AIS technology improved rapidly after it implemented the use of satellites to offer worldwide coverage. 

Digitalization Improved the Shipping Industry in More ways than One

As time passed, the introduction of sensor technology and ECM (electronic engine management) proved to be quite handy for shipping companies and vessel manufacturers. By combining the two, manufacturers were able to monitor their engines to ensure they are in optimal condition. 

As they gathered more data, manufacturers could pin point problems early and prevent them before things got worse. This also helped make maintenance processes easier, ensuring ships did not face any issues while they were at sea. 

The Use of Third Party Software in the Shipping Industry

The introduction of third party software in the shipping industry was a massive game changer.  Shipping operators could access these software to monitor things like fuel consumption and performance. They could also utilize third party programs to calculate their ship’s speed, weather condition, current flow etc. Having access to all of this information allowed shipping companies to make adjustments to how they operated to avoid any hazards. 

Eventually, the software products shipping companies were using started using satellite connections for sending information to concerned departments. This gradually led to the creation of programs especially designed for fleet efficiency. 

Information Display Systems and Electronic Charts

Digitalization in shipping continued to evolve at a rapid pace after the introduction of third party software, as shipping companies got access to information display systems and electronic charts. These offered shipping operators a great deal of convenience, helping them access important data without any inconvenience. 

Initially, very few shipping companies were making use of these charts and digital display systems. However, as time passed, these systems became mandatory for ships over 3000 GT. A large number of small ships were also mandated to adopt these systems for maximum efficiency. Many believe that this was the point that gave birth to e-navigation. This is because these systems had the potential of changing shipping operations for the better, as they would help with timely arrivals, control of shipping operations, speed, etc.

Digitalization and Inspection

As far as ship inspection and classification is concerned, digitalization has been playing a massive role. A large number of organizations have been using digitalization for developing programs to improve equipment and ship safety. Many believe that introducing digitalization in organizations with larger fleets with extensive data and workload is easier compared to smaller organizations with no more than ten ships. The reason why adoption in larger fleets is easier is quite high and quantifying it is easier. 

Container Tracking For Smoother Operations

The introduction of container tracking has been a godsend for the shipping industry. With this technological advancement, companies can track the exact location of their cargo and notify customers about it. These systems are quite uncomplicated and help shipping companies track their vessels easily. In most cases, remote satellite systems are used for tracking containers as they offer satellite photos of shipping containers at any time. One of the best things about these container tracking systems is that they are easily available. 

Digitalization in the shipping industry has come a long way and has helped shipping companies in multiple ways. With widespread adoption of third party programs, container tracking systems and other technologies, one can expect shipping companies to improve their processes significantly.,competitiveness%20and%20enhance%20operational%20efficiency.

Virginia Canales

Virginia Canales