Changing data sharing paradigms
COMMENT: The conference season is in full bloom in the States with ‘disruption’ seemingly the topic of the day, writes Barry Parker
Although the big Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) Shipping 2018 expo and convention is not specifically aimed at ports, the content at the sessions this year was extraordinarily relevant to them.
Presenters Christopher Rex from Danish Ship Finance, and Frank Coles from Transas (a maritime technology provider) offered up their visions of shipping’s technological future: whatever the topic - routing of vessels, collision avoidance, supply chain logistics – every item, from the mundane to the awesome, will require new data sharing paradigms. One example given was just-in-time arrivals, where vessels slow down or speed up to get into a particular berth at an optimal time.
Matters of maritime safety, extending beyond private sector logistics concerns, were also discussed, as was Big Data analytics, using patterns of previous transits through a channel to identify errant movements of vessels, well before a human on duty in a traffic control centre would notice that a vessel was off course.
Although various conference organisers – CMA and others doing the circuit – talk about game changers, new patterns of data analytics and delivery may only involve small changes to existing data infrastructures and protocols. But, ultimately, antiquated architectures for data flows may require brand new infrastructure.
The bottom line is the extent of co-operation and data sharing of ports handling cargo moves, both in and out. Indeed, the amenability to data sharing may now be among the criteria for port selection by shippers and cargo owners.
I also mentioned maritime safety above, which is a hint that future stakeholders in disruption may go beyond the usual suspects. Once regulators become involved, the discussion moves from commercial folks looking to improve their logistics. When we reach that point, participation in efforts to streamline and re-jig data flows may shift from optional to compulsory for commercial interests, and that will include ports.
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