• Brodie Weir
    Brodie Weir

    Big Data in The Shipping Industry: How To Take Advantage Of It

    As we transition to a more globalised economy, the shipping industry also grows exponentially, making over 14 trillion US dollars annually. And with a large amount of cargo being transported in global trading, tons of data are also being generated. These data help companies make profitable decisions based on the statistical numbers collected, facts, and trends. 

    Over time, the continuous growth of the shipping industry will require the maximisation of time and profit for a more structured and profitable transport services. That is when Big Data comes in—to keep up with the volume of data being generated in the entire shipping process and make real-time predictions to make the delivery of goods more efficient.

    To fully grasp the idea of Big Data,  we'll discuss its role in the shipping industry.

    Role of Big Data in the Shipping Industry
    There are two types of data: traditional and non-traditional. Traditional data are based on statistical records of ships, vessel operations, and such structured sources. Meanwhile, non-traditional data are unstructured information based from satellite images, telecommunications, and iOT devices. 

    The data coming from both traditional and non-traditional sources are being condensed by Big Data to create a centralised database. From there, Big Data can look on patterns and make real-time predictions, which helps the transportation of goods more efficient.

    But if you think it ends with that, Big Data also plays a role in sustainability, especially in a company's carbon management. Since almost 940 million tons of carbon are a being emitted in the shipping industry every year, making at least 2.5% of the total carbon emissions annually, carbon accounting is being done by companies. 

    In the shipping industry, we take into account the carbon intensity of a vessel. And while the process might seem a bit challenging, incorporating the Big Data approach will make it easier by helping maritime businesses look at a larger scale, so they can make more sustainable decisions.

    Now that we know how much Big Data can offer to the shipping industry, how can we take advantage of it?

    Applications in the Maritime Industry

    • Ship Design and Maintenance

    By utilising Big Data analytics, shipbuilders will be able to know how to improve the design of previously used vessels. Big Data will analyse used ships that had structural damage over time. From there, the data collected will serve as a guide for shipbuilders when designing a new model.

    Related to the ship's design and performance is its maintenance. Since the decision in a vessel's maintenance (like hull cleaning and propeller polishing) is purely intuitive, big data analytics will give them a more structural insight when deciding whether or not to perform maintenance.

    • Voyage Operations

    When it comes to voyage operations, the terminal operators and port agents will need to know the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) of a vessel and its cargo information. And what Big Data will do is provide better ETA prediction and cargo tracking by managing ship sensors. It will help with the overall operational efficiency by avoiding delays and problems related to cargo.

    Big Data also helps in route planning. It gives you information about the desired route, the one provided by weather service agencies, and your actual route in real-time. And having this data, along with the vessel speed and performance, shipowners will be able to manage the voyage efficiently, so it will go as planned. 

    The Bottom Line
    With all the information provided about Data Analytics, we can say that it is a breakthrough in the shipping industry. Not only does it help with business reasons, but also with reaching the goal of sustainability. By fully-incorporating this approach into the fight against climate change, we can plan our journey towards a zero-carbon future.


    Bash Sarmiento

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