How the Shipping Industry Can Utilize Big Data for its Environmental Sustainability Initiatives

Digital Technologies in Shipping
In 2011, McKinsey heralded big data as being “the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity”. Big data certainly has become part and parcel of the decision-making for many industries such as healthcare whose innovators proposed, back in 2010: “if you really want to transform health care, you basically build a sort of healthcare economy around the data that relate to people…. You would not just think of data as the ‘exhaust’ of providing health services, but rather they become a central asset in trying to figure out how you would improve every aspect of health care. It’s a bit of an inversion.”

The Guardian asserts that there are 50 studies from some of the top business analysts in the world that tell us “sustainability pays”. But is the idea that “sustainability pays” relevant to the shipping industry? And just how does big data fit into all this? Here are a few examples of how the shipping and maritime industries are using big data to enhance (and in some cases enforce) sustainability practices:

$1.7 Billion Saved With Hull Coatings and Compliant Performance Measurements

“One great example of how sustainability has paid off in the shipping industry is a study done by Jotun and DNV GL: Global sales director Stein Kjølberg said that Jotun’s “advanced hull coatings and application technologies with compliant performance measurements had helped customers reduce fuel costs and emissions by up to 16%.” Kjølberg explains: “Jotun’s Hull Performance Solutions using its premium marine coating SeaQuantum X200 has saved the industry $1.7 billion in energy efficiency, or 15.5 million tones of emissions, over a five-year period based on 350 vessels sampled compared with a market average antifouling system.”

Monitoring System Saves Bunker Costs, Reduces Ship Emissions

Another organization out to help the environment (and save ship owners money) is We4Sea. Early this month they announced the launch of their “Big Data Fuel Monitoring platform” which is “intended to reduce bunker costs and reduce ship emissions.” Their tool combines your ship’s data with various other data “such as satellite data, waves, ocean currents and wind”. Their CTO explained to Ship & Bunker: “Starting at less than 10 euro a day, we can monitor your ship on fuel-efficiency and emissions world-wide. It is our goal to reduce CO2 emissions with 1 million tonnes in 3 years.”

Go to the Front of the Line

Want to be first in line at the Panama Canal, then you had better be green. MFAME reports that the Panama Canals’ Environmental Premium Ranking will start January 1, 2017. “Vessels who want to be part of this initiative must be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) or score at least one of three indicators: Energy Efficiency Index Design (EEDI, for its acronym in English), Environmental Index ship (ESI, for its acronym in English) or Index Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)”.

Global Transparency is Becoming the Norm

Involved in illegal and/or unsustainable business practices at sea? There’s a new police force called blockchain that is watching you. A software platform called Provenance can now monitor human rights abuses and illegal fishing using blockchain. Global transparency through big data and the ubiquitous mobile device is soon to become (if it isn’t already is) the norm. Are you on board?

Want to learn more about Green Ships? Check out our Green Ship Technology Conference here.

Find out more about smart ships at Shipping2030 Europe (co-located with Green Ship Technology), featuring exclusive speaker sessions from global leaders in maritime and digital innovation!


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