Bulk Carrier Taps Big Data
As ship owners struggle to survive, Eagle Bulk has found that investment in Big Data and analytics is helping it to run a safer, more efficient fleet. Jonathan Dowsett, Senior Fleet Performance Manager at Eagle Shipping Intl. (USA), explains.
MR: Okay, this is Greg Trauthwein, I’m the editor of Maritime Reporter and Engineering News. We’re here with Maritime Reporter TV at the SHIPPINGInsight, 2016, and we’re with Jonathan Dowsett of Eagle Bulk Shipping. Just to kick it off, if you could just tell us your title, your area of responsibility, and also a little bit about Eagle Bulk Shipping.
Jonathan Dowsett: Sure, so I’ll start with a little bit about Eagle, actually. We are an owner and operator of 41 Supramax size bulk carriers. We were located in midtown Manhattan but we recently moved out here to Stamford. We do all in-house commercial, technical management, so we’re our own self-sufficient shipping company and the
MR: Again, you talk to 10 people, and 10 people about the bulk market today, most people would say you have a pretty tough row to hoe at the moment. When you look at the market today, what do you see?
Jonathan Dowsett: So I think everybody would probably tell you the same thing — that it’s a tough time in the bulk market, for sure. But I think most people also see that we’re probably coming out of the worst, the worst times maybe back January, February, and March of this year. And so rates are coming up. The BSI, which is the index we look at, that’s coming up. So I think... you have to remain cautious all the time, but maybe we have some better times ahead of us. And as far as my perspective goes, the time that you really need to invest in all this business intelligence and using your data to constantly improve is really when you’re close to the bottom, because then, as you start moving back up, all those insights and all those better ways of doing things that you learned in the tough times, they still reap savings when it’s good times.
MR: Okay, very good. When you were describing your company, your position, you gave a few examples of the way in which you use data. But just to really concisely drill down, when I look at performance management and business intelligence, can you give me some specific examples of how today Eagle Bulk is using this to improve the performance of your ships?
Jonathan Dowsett: So I think... some specific examples are... if we start, it’s very... there’s basically two sides to it — so there’s the vessel side and the office side. Out on the ships, we’re collecting information about basically what speed are they going, what kind of fuel consumptions do they have, what’s the weather like. It can even be much more detail-able things like specific
MR: I would expect nothing less than detail and depth from a Webb graduate. So put in perspective, if you will, this is a very historically conservative industry — some people would classify it as “slow to adapt to change.” And we’re assuming that a lot of what’s going on, I don’t know if
Jonathan Dowsett: I think if you look within... we can start with the bulk sector. There’s a — as we said in a previous question — it’s definitely a bad time for bulk carriers and bulk operators, so you need to differentiate yourself. And I think one of the most critical ways you can do that is by really embracing business intelligence as a way to drive your business, to improve your business. And there’s a lot of bulk owners out there who haven’t seen the light in this. And I would hesitate to say that they’ll disappear or anything like that, but this is the way the industry is going, and if you’re not going to adopt these kinds of things, if you’re not going to really embrace business intelligence performance management, then you’ll be left by the wayside. You’ll be missing a whole lot of intelligence that everybody else is going to have. And so, getting out of
MR: And again, you’ve given incredible examples of how you are using it realistically today, looking forward, is it incremental changes on what you’re already doing? Or are there other specific areas where you see this really having a tremendous impact?
Jonathan Dowsett: I think you already hear a lot today about things like big data, and you hear about autonomous
MR: That’s spectacular. I truly thank you for your time. I know you just came off of a flight. You’re excellent, and again, Greg Trauthwein with Maritime Reporter. Thank you.
Jonathan Dowsett: Thank you.