Weather data has long been shared with multiple weather-analysis companies, whether it is a mariner staring out to sea or weather ships in the days of old. Now satellites and buoys gather data in huge amounts. Weather data and weather routing is by today's technological standards old hat. There are multiple companies and sources of data available and the algorithms are well established.
Safe navigation and voyage optimization products are also quite well established, though it is harder to find experts and align the validity of the data with the suggested routes. Manual data entry versus automation is one of the main issues in this regard. An industry that still largely relies on manual data entered into its complex algorithms will get garbage in and hence garbage out, making automation crucial to use more advanced technologies.
Where we have long had the issue is on the gathering of engine data, and yes greenhouse gasses emissions is part of these data. Why? Because large engine manufacturers and other large-scale vendors all use their own protocols and they use their own closed loops. Sharing data is a crime in shipping, a bit like seafarers rights.
Are there companies seeking to get access to this data from the engines, data that will provide the evidence of emissions, sustainability efficiency etc.? Yes, many are now appearing that have in one form or another tried to provide a solution to the problem of access to this precious data. The other problem is of course, ship owners who don't want to share with charterers, regulators, etc...
The first problem is that the current solutions to access the data of the multiple systems are cumbersome and expensive, as well as involve multiple days of installing. This is something that I think is going to change with some of the newer technologies and systems that some of the companies I am working with are currently developing. Think about $3000 for an install and in only one day. Which will give the access to the emissions, the sustainability readings and bypass any of the blocks the large vendors put in place. This code module will solve the access issue and be available to all to install and enhance their products that do the analytics, algorithms etc..
As for the second problem, here the industry is going to be disrupted. ESG requirements, the EU taxonomy requirements, the demands of charterers and shippers are fast going to make it imperative that ships are fitted with tools for “true, trusted, and independent” data on the compliance with emissions and green behaviors.
Regulations and cargo owners (charterers, shippers, etc) are going to drive this change to the point the ships will not be hired without the data being supplied, and with the equipment fitted to provide the data, in a “true trusted and independent” manner. I don't think people miss the point. The point is precisely about the method to solving the accuracy of the data and the driver to making the data valuable is about to collide and split the atom.
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Frank Coles is an expert in sustainable shipping. He is the former the chief executive officer of Wallem Group, a maritime services company. Before that he was chief executive of a maritime software company, Transas, now a subsidiary of Wärtsilä. He was also operations director for Pacific Basin Bulk Shipping in Hong Kong, former president of Inmarsat Maritime and chief executive officer of Globe Wireless.