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29th August 2019

Shipping needs to get serious about data-sharing

Anyone who has followed the ongoing conversation about the shipping industry’s digital future will have heard the case for greater data sharing – both within and without individual companies.

Silo mentality and artificial departmental barriers are preventing the free flow of information that is crucial to detecting and remedying hitherto unseen inefficiencies, we are told. Meanwhile, transformative change at an industry level will only be possible if data can be easily exchanged between the various entities and organisations involved in each voyage and port call.

This latter aspect throws up all sorts of questions related not only to the standards and integration this will necessitate, but also where to draw the lines in sand with regards to data ownership, confidentiality and privacy. The discussions taking place at the Smart Maritime Network (SMN) Conference in Tokyo are aimed at tackling these issues and building relationships between different stakeholders across the maritime and transport logistics sector are therefore timely and much needed.

Asides from the political and philosophical questions, it is clear that, irrespective of the connectivity available onboard, shipping companies still lack an effective mechanism for transferring data between ship and shore. All too often ships send data home as email attachments. Sometimes this happens automatically as a scheduled background task, while in other cases it is done manually by a deck officer or engineer.

But as both the volume and frequency grow, this improvised approach is likely to become increasingly untenable. While email can deliver data, it wasn’t really designed to. It doesn’t offer the sort of capabilities needed to properly manage and prioritise large volumes of data intended for multiple stakeholder audiences.

The team at GTMaritime has been working on a new solution that fits better with the data-centric world we’re now living in. More details coming soon.

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