Now that digitalization is progressing in all industries, the shipping industry, which was called the analog industry, is about to change drastically. In the analog industry, although initially resistant, digitization is the most effective leap forward.
The unknown wave of "shipping x digitalization". Will the still analog shipping industry be reborn as a cutting-edge industry?
Sea transportation accounts for 90% of international transportation, and the market size is said to be about 500 billion dollars, which is a huge industry. For a long time, the shipping industry's operations have been said to be analog, but the wave of digitalization has been rushing over the past year.
Major companies such as IBM and Microsoft have made a name for themselves to create platforms for the shipping industry, and startups from various countries are also entering the market one after another to accelerate digitalization and high-tech. Keep up with the latest information on the shipping industry, including digitization measures for major players and startups.
The shipping industry was forced to digitize due to cyber attacks and bankruptcy of major shipping companies
What surprised the world in the analog shipping industry was the turmoil caused by the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping in South Korea in 2016. At the time of the bankruptcy, about 400,000 containers of cargo were on board Hanjin Shipping worldwide, but the centralized cargo management system is not functioning, and shippers do not know where their cargo is now. It became a chaotic situation.
Furthermore, in June 2017, the world's largest shipping company Maersk and others were hit by a large-scale cyber attack, causing a major incident in which the system went offline for several weeks. With the need to build a safer and more efficient system, Maersk announced in January 2018 that it would partner with IBM to jointly develop an international trading platform that utilizes blockchain technology.
In addition to blockchain technology, the system to be developed will utilize cloud-based open source technology including AI, IoT, and analytics to enable centralized digital management and tracking of international transportation processes. In the future, it aims to become an ecosystem of the shipping industry that can be utilized by many stakeholders such as shippers, shipping companies, port terminal operators, and customs authorities.
Microsoft cuts into the shipping industry by utilizing MR (Mixed Reality)
Microsoft is cutting into the digitalization of the shipping industry from a different angle than IBM. Using Microsoft's product Microsoft HoloLens, an MR (Mixed Reality) device, the company will proceed with a project that enables remote maneuvering and maintenance from land, and remote training for seafarers.
As with automobiles, it is expected that in the near future, autonomous driving will become widespread, and the time will come when the captain will control multiple ships from land as a "digital captain." At that time, by sharing 3D nautical charts, shipping routes, weather information, etc. with other digital captains and related parties in remote areas through Microsoft HoloLens, it will be possible to realize safer and more efficient sea transportation.
And Microsoft plans to launch the service in 2019 to use MR for training for seafarers and maintenance of ships.
First of all, in the training for seafarers "INFINITY Training", by wearing Microsoft HoloLens, we will prepare a mechanism that allows virtual participation in training for seafarers such as operation of ship equipment and systems even from a remote location. By using the translation function of Microsoft Translator, even seafarers in different language environments can receive the same training, and it is expected that the skill level of seafarers will improve.
INFINITY Assist, a remote maintenance solution being developed by Microsoft and JRCS
Next, in the remote maintenance solution "INFINITY Assist", when an engineer performs maintenance on a ship, Microsoft HoloLens is attached, and work procedures etc. are displayed on the equipment.
By updating the application on Microsoft HoloLens, it will be possible to carry out maintenance work based on the latest information, even for ships scattered all over the world.
First, it will release a maintenance application for high-voltage switchboards manufactured by JRCS within 2019, and is expected to develop as a maintenance platform including products of other companies after 2020.
There is no doubt that digitization and efficiency improvement of employee education and maintenance work utilizing such MR will have great value for the shipping industry, which tends to fall into labor shortage.
Startups also enter the "digital x shipping" market one after another
Not only super-major companies such as IBM and Microsoft, but also startups in each country are trying to enter the industry from the perspective of "digital x shipping" one after another.
Among them, Flexport, which was founded in 2013, is already on the scale of raising more than $ 2 million. Flexport has digitized the schedule management of the shipping industry, which was still mainly manual correspondence using telephone, fax, and e-mail, and put in place a system that allows related parties to check and manage the transportation status of cargo online.
Furthermore, by utilizing the accumulated navigation data, we are also calculating the estimated arrival time of cargo and proposing the fastest and cheapest transportation means.
Handles cargo trekking using artificial satellites
There is another important approach to the digitization of the shipping industry. It is a trekking of cargo by artificial satellite. In fact, the level of cargo tracking in sea transport is pre-modern, and surprisingly it has even been said that about one-fifth of the world's containers are constantly missing somewhere in the world.
In order to solve this situation, various startups have entered the shipping industry from the perspective of artificial satellites.
For example, Spire, which operates as many as 40 small satellites, HawkEye360, which has its own current location identification technology without relying on the transmission of position information from the ship side, and a small size equipped with a high-resolution laser capable of image captioning only 1 meter from the ground surface. It's like Satellite launching a satellite.
In addition, Shipamax, which provides a communication platform specializing in bulk transportation of grains and oil, We4Sea, which proposes the most fuel-efficient operation route from analysis of big data, Xeneta, which provides a real-time comparison of marine transportation costs, etc. , "Digital x shipping" startups that are looking forward to future development are appearing one after another.
As we have seen, the shipping industry is undergoing rapid digitalization in a short period of time. Since it was very analog in the past, there are some that have finally caught up with other industries such as digitization of documents and schedule management, but at a stretch, such as data analysis through artificial satellites and training using MR, it jumped to the forefront. There are also such fields.
It is important to pay attention to what will actually take root and become the industry standard in the wave of digitalization that is rushing into the shipping industry.