Can shipping navigate the wave of digitalisation?

Many companies talk of ‘digital disruption’ or ‘paradigm shift’; but very few can explain exactly where to start the digital journey with any kind of certainty according to Kongsberg Digital report.

We hear a lot about the challenges that shipping faces, and much about the benefits of digitalization. It’s a sign of the times; but how can a traditionally conservative industry like maritime be expected to navigate the bluster and hyperbole of the latest Digitech? 

In its recent report Kongsberg Digital points out that the use of digital in the shipping sector is limited and for the most part it’s still at the beginning when it comes to gaining the full value of digitalization. 

“Today, practically every conference dedicates a large proportion of their program to topics like artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomy, blockchain, digital platforms, and big data. There are no shortage of people offering their perspective on the future of the maritime industry, but few can tell us where to start the digital journey with any kind of certainty,” says Vigleik Takle, Vice President and Commercial Director at Kongsberg Digital.

Software jungle  

Although the digital transformation of the maritime industry is still in its infancy, it’s already becoming difficult to navigate the “software jungle” argues Takle. Over 160 different vendors are currently offering various solutions to ship owners, charterers, operators, and other related industry stakeholders.  

The report provides a full overview of the most significant players in the maritime software landscape, categorized according to the major Opex (operational expenditure) drivers such as administration, fuel and energy management, maintenance and operations and fleet management systems.  

In spite of the crowded software landscape, the report says few of the vendors have been able to build significant scale with their offering. Hence, most of the vendors are still quite small in terms of revenue and number of customers, and given that the industry is very conservative, it could be years before we see mainstream adoption of new technology.  

Indeed, it is unlikely that every shipping company will be a winner in the coming surge of digitalization; growth in the field will likely be a process of elimination, separating the bluster from those software vendors with a firm grasp of the industry’s complexities and a genuine offering to make. While there are bound to be losers in the process, Kongberg’s report offers sound guidance in choosing the right players to gain a competitive advantage.   

Read the full article on Jotun Maritime Insider