In 2019 the Baltic Exchange partnered with GeoSpock, a geospatial big data company, to look at building a digital platform for maritime industry emissions management. The partnership aims to work with the Exchange membership and broader industry to provide data access at a scale never before seen in the maritime sector.
To support this initiative, Baltic Exchange and GeoSpock published a white paper “The future of data in the maritime sector: driving change through geospatial data”. The document outlines the vision, and first steps in the initiative to help the entire maritime industry uncover value from the vast store of data sat just beyond their fingertips.
Part one, featured below, looks at where the industry is now. The full white paper is available to view here.
The dawn of the data age in maritime
The 21st Century is often regarded as the dawn of the data age. The rise of the internet, smartphone and digital technology has completely revolutionised methods of communication and commerce, heralding seismic changes in the way society and organisations engage and transact with one another. Technology has enabled the instant access of large volumes of data and information from anywhere on the planet.
However, whilst digitalisation has revolutionised the transmission of information around the world, the ceaseless flow of physical goods also continues unabated. Older and more tangible than the electronic signals of the data age, physical trade remains no less vital to the globalised world of today. The internet and e-commerce may have brought companies into the homes of their customers, but it is still the job of the asset and logistics sectors to deliver. In this regard, the maritime industry reigns supreme, accounting for 90% of global trade volumes and delivering cargo more efficiently than any other method of global transportation.
Of course, the partnership between physical and digital methods of commerce and communication is also providing great benefits within the maritime sector. As international commerce increases, new markets are uncovered and trade routes developed to service them. Within the industry, organisations must now begin to leverage digital technologies to uncover the vast potential of their data.
The improvement in location data records provided by the widespread deployment of satellite constellations and improved ship broadband connectivity have already begun improving vessel operational performance as well as quality of life for thousands of seafarers. Round the clock connectivity facilitates oversight of even the most remotely operating vessels, allowing crews and companies to understand and react to changing local and global events as they occur.
As ships, ports and governments install more sensor systems, the volume of measurement data collected and collated for analysis is also rising exponentially. For the maritime sector, harnessing the potential of this data is now the industry’s greatest opportunity, but also its greatest challenge.
The dispersed, global nature of the sector, combined with strong competition between operators, does not easily facilitate the collaboration and cooperation required to fully harness value from data. In addition, a lack of effective methods of knowledge communication risk damaging the reputation of the industry in the face of greater scrutiny from customers and governments. The industry must therefore seize the moment itself and come together to unlock the full value of its pooled data, whilst demonstrating its credentials and importance on the global stage.