The Covid-19 pandemic has fast-tracked the maritime industry switching to digital. Many enterprises have stumbled amid this transformation. At the same time, lots are taking this opportunity to leverage business data, make better business decisions, and refine their operations. This brings us to our first key benefit.


Improved efficiency across global operations

Whether companies are transporting passengers or cargo, global maritime logistics has a number of complex factors to content with that can result in chaos. Digitalisation is the key to untangling this web. Designed to streamline workflow across global operations, today’s Inmarsat-certified digital applications are redefining maritime efficiency. Aimed at enabling collaboration, these workspaces provide comprehensive, satellite-enabled, and real-time communication tools for maritime workers and managers.

Available through mobile, web, and desktop devices, these platforms are giving the entire industry easy access to process automation, video conferencing, contact centre management, and other tools. Some digital workspaces can even be customised to work with existing online workspace/communication platforms, which means greater adaptability. As a result, digitalisation is improving efficiency, making turnaround times faster, and less overall expenses for the maritime industry.


The potential for industry-wide sustainability

Apart from improving efficiency, digitally-enabled collaboration is also enabling sustainability efforts to blossom across the maritime industry. This is one of the main reasons why the International Maritime Organization (IMO) advocates for widespread digitalisation. IMO officials see digital technologies as vital for enhancing the sustainability of maritime operations across the world. With the aforementioned tools in place, it becomes easier for maritime companies to use less fuel, prolong the service life of assets, and genuinely pursue sustainable goals. This bodes very well for conservation efforts that are tied with maritime sustainability, which brings us to our next key benefit.


Greater opportunities for maritime conservation awareness

Digitalisation is also paving the way for those working in maritime conservation to raise awareness about their efforts. This can be observed via the popular social media platform, TikTok. A feature on TikTok’s educational potential published by Later details how some creators are using the platform to advocate for ecological awareness. Using his TikTok account to post videos of himself cleaning up beaches, Saving the Turtles CEO Logan Wood has managed to rack up hundreds of thousands of views. This aspect of digitalisation is especially crucial right now, as both shipping companies and their customers are becoming increasingly concerned with sustainability and conservation. Alongside digital workspaces, which are empowering internal maritime sustainability, today’s digital social platforms are allowing consumers and advocates to get more involved.


Safer international shipping routes

Last but not least, another crucial benefit of intelligent digital technologies is better maritime safety. Through improved onboard navigations, the industry is able to reduce collisions and accidents due to human error. For instance, the BBC’s story on how Evergreen Marine’s blocked the Suez Canal reveals how the possible was because the ship “being hit by a sudden strong wind.” This caused the hull to deviate and run aground. In short, it was an incident that could have easily been prevented. And the good news is that the technology to do just that is already in the works.

Using deep Q-learning algorithms, today’s maritime tech experts are developing self-navigating systems for autonomous ships. Fuelled by data from smart sensors and the resulting data-driven insights, this technology is enabling safe navigation for large, unmanned maritime vehicles. As this tech develops, it also has the potential to greatly improve the outdated navigation systems found on most ships.

While these are not the only benefits of digitalization, they are the key improvements that will drive this ongoing transformation. From these benefits alone, there’s no doubt that digital technology will continue to shape the future of the maritime industry.

Writer: Lara Stance