Full Knots Ahead for Digitization of the Maritime Sector

Full Knots Ahead for Digitization of the Maritime Sector

July 15, 2020

Oracle Singapore Head of Apps Levent Tavsanci discusses digitization efforts in the maritime sector and how organisations may exploit data to unlock valuable insights and help drive better decision making.

By Levent Tavsanci

Shipping has been a major mode of transport and an essential communication link that keeps the entire Southeast Asia connected to the rest of the world. From cargo trade to domestic commerce, shipping has played a crucial role in enabling economic growth and international competitiveness for our region. In fact, most of the members of ASEAN are maritime economies given our geo-location and access to sea lanes of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

With border movements currently being restricted, the maritime industry in ASEAN has undoubtedly been affected. From reduced workforce to closing of ports, the industry is facing disruptions not limiting to cargo congestion and supply chains. The shipping industry is also no exception as the world is forced to embrace remote work.

It is evident that what is once known as an industry that is slow to digitalize, the maritime sector is now ramping up efforts to be at the forefront of the digital economy.

The current economic downturn is also urging businesses – including those in the maritime sector – to accelerate their shift in business operations digitally, with the need to run operations remotely being a priority.

Coupling economic pressure with the current need for increased collaboration, albeit online, it is no wonder that the maritime sector is turning to the cloud.

The nature of the maritime industry means that it is and will always be challenged by geography, and cloud technologies are now being adopted to address this very issue of distance. The cloud can also enable the shipping industry to automate tasks, reduce administrative work, and drive cost efficiencies.

A clear advantage for businesses in shipping to adopt cloud is that it enables them to better communicate and collaborate with teams spread out across the world – on shore and at sea. This helps promote a closer working culture despite the distance apart.

From admin, finance, logistics and crew, and supply chain management, cloud has enabled businesses to access information from a centralised platform so they can make better informed decisions. In other words, this makes their business more responsive, agile, and more competitive.

The shipping industry holds many legacy technologies that may be susceptible to cyber-attacks in today’s changing cyber threat landscape. From e-navigation, global positioning systems (GPS), automatic identification system (AIS), and electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS), the cloud offers an added security layer to better store and manage these data. With the cloud, there will also be less reliance on existing hardware that may be labour-intensive to support and maintain.

It is clear that the cloud offers tremendous value creation in the maritime sector, across multiple layers of the industry and business. In order for businesses to take advantage of these benefits, there is a need to take on a different mindset when it comes to data.

Data is the new oil, and businesses across all industries should look to seize data-centric opportunities for growth. The best way to go about doing this is to embrace a data-focused, value-creation business model to tap on the amount of data being generated in our digital economy. It’s a whole new environment and business leaders need to be ready for that.

Across job functions, technology has facilitated the shift towards more data-enabled operations. Be it the CEO, CMO, or CFO, business leaders now need to rely on data and technology to make better decisions.

For instance, global marine services provider Swire Pacific Offshore is leveraging Oracle Cloud ERP to create an integrated financial system that would drive work efficiency, financial accuracy and data integrity across its operations worldwide. In doing so, the marine services provider hopes to enhance their internal controls, compliance and reporting with real-time data.

Moreover, with Oracle Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), businesses within the shipping industry will be able to automatically create forecasts and perform predictive analytics based on historical actual data. This would mean that in the case of an economic downturn as an example, organisations can generate data to project scenarios, providing a prediction on the impact to business. As a result, such effective use cases of the cloud will enable the maritime sector to response proactively instead of reactively to disruptions.

Disruption is constant. In order to succeed in this environment, businesses need to exploit data to unlock valuable insights and drive better decisions. This applies to all industries, including the maritime sector, where cloud technologies have made it more streamlined. With ongoing technology trials, it’s only a matter of time that more fleets can be managed online with crew dedicated to other initiatives.

As one of the oldest industries, shipping will remain significant in the digital economy. No doubt that there will continue to be disruptions, but businesses must not ignore the competitive advantages that cloud technologies have made available. There is a lot of potential in shipping and technology will play a leading role as maritime businesses strive for business continuity.

(Ed. Featured image by Photographer Mali Maeder.)

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