Maritime's Future is Digital, Clean
- Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer, Wärtsilä, discusses the engineering company’s digital transformation, as well as its investment in ‘an oceanic awakening’ and its leadership in the SEA20 project. (Photo: Greg Trauthwein)
- The JSMEA/Maritime Reporter reception on Tuesday, September 4, was the perfect opportunity to present Yoshikazu Kawagoe, Chief Technical Officer, Mistui O.S.K. Lines, with a framed cover of Maritime Reporter’s December 2017 cover feature MOL’s FSRU Challenger, the 2017 “Great Ship of the Year.” (Photo: Rob Howard)
- “Beware of people who are convinced (that they have the answer to the 2020 fuel rules),” said Paddy Rodgers (right), CEO of Euronav. (Photo: Greg Trauthwein)
- (From Left): Peter Keller, EVP, TOTE (left) & Wayne Jones, MAN Energy Solutions to discussed with Maritime Reporter & Engineering News TOTE’s 3-year experience with the world’s first LNG fueled container ships. A full report coming in the October Marine Design Annual edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News.
- The Maritime Reporter TV booth at SMM 2018 saw visits from more than two dozen executives for interviews. (Photo: Maritime Reporter TV)
- The Maritime Reporter TV booth at SMM 2018 saw visits from more than two dozen executives for interviews, including Mike Guggenheimer, president & CEO RSC Bio. (Photo: Maritime Reporter TV)
- The Maritime Reporter TV booth at SMM 2018 saw visits from more than two dozen executives for interviews, including Iain White, ExxonMobil Marine. (Photo: Maritime Reporter TV)
- The Maritime Reporter TV booth at SMM 2018 saw visits from more than two dozen executives for interviews, including Götz Vogelmann, Hatteland Display. (Photo: Maritime Reporter TV)
Last week in Hamburg, Germany, SMM 2018 was held, the single biggest and arguably best exhibition on the maritime calendar globally. Maritime Reporter & Engineering News/MarineLink.com had a crew of seven on scene in Hamburg covering multiple, simultaneous conferences and meetings, a full schedule of social events and, of course, the signature four-day exhibition which saw nearly 2,300 exhibitors and more than 50,000 visitors.
The Maritime Reporter & Engineering booth in hall A1.410 was also home to the Maritime Reporter TV 'studio', and throughout the week we welcomed more than two dozen executives from a broad mix of global shipowners, ship builders and equipment suppliers. There was a predictable heavy flow of new product and system introductions and announcements last week on MarineLink.com and our related sites, but in short – based on interviews with and presentations from the world's leading maritime authorities – these are the top trends today driving the maritime industry’s future:
1.The abyss has been passed (maybe): Following what can kindly be described as ‘challenging’ years, the maritime industry collectively seems to be on the uptick, with multiple markets flourishing (Cruise, from big ships to expedition to river) and others showing signs of life (bulk and various energy sectors). No one is in position to call the crisis officially dead, but there is a buoyancy that hasn’t been present for some time, and there are many projects in the works.
2.Digital: ‘Digitalization’ and ‘Big Data’ are overused marketing jargon, but make no mistake that an information revolution is underway in this sector that will fundamentally change everything. Tomorrow’s ship at sea will be an online interconnected node in the vast global logistics infrastructure. I’ve been traveling to Hamburg for SMM since 1992, and this year it was striking that there was a dearth of the really big, heavy machinery on stands, machinery that was the hallmark of the exhibition. This was most clear at a presentation led by Marco Ryan, Chief Digital Officer, Wärtsilä, which focused on this engineering company’s digital transformation.
3.Green & Clean: The maritime industry faces a major milestone in 2020 when it is mandated by IMO to reduce sulfur emissions to 0.5%, while it is facing a 50% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions globally by 2050. The 2020 mandate is particularly troubling for the industry as it gave vessel owners only a few years to act, mulling the pros and cons major, capital intensive investments in technology such as scrubbers, or opting to switch to cleaner, more expensive fuel. Paddy Rodgers, CEO of Euronav, best summarized the challenge facing shipowners during a panel discussion hosted by the American Bureau of Shipping at SMM: “Beware of people who are convinced (that they have the answer to the 2020 fuel rules),” said Rodgers. “It’s dynamic, its difficult to decide, and anyone struggling with it is probably halfway sensible; and anyone who is convinced is probably is marginally insane.”
4.Autonomous: In step with Digital transformation but more focused is marine’s move toward autonomy. Increasing amounts of data exchange will raise the level of automation onboard and further reduce crew size, but the prospect of fully autonomous seagoing vessels most likely will not be realized in my lifetime. To this end we had a great interview with a leader in this regard, Peter Due, Director Autonomy, Kongsberg. As Due explains ‘autonomy’ is not only about removing all mariners from ships, rather it is raising the level of automation and artificial intelligence onboard ships at sea in the name of efficiency and economy.