In 2015, every company in a lengthy charter-party chain, and all the agents, terminals, stevedores, contractors and suppliers attached to those companies, each has some form of Information Technology solution in-house. Be it MS Office on a PC, or a huge shipping ERP.
Yet when one company transmits to the next company, it appears that only three standards for Information exist between them - email, MS Office, and PDF. From mighty Charter-Parties to lowly Noon Reports, from miles-long Statements of Fact to five-line ROB statements, the huge majority will need to be retyped, or scanned with OCR and corrected, if they depart one company to the next. Even if the two parties have huge volumes of repeated transactions between them.
Are we mad? And where are our industry bodies?
Sulphur 2020 cap for Shipping: 6 myths
The 2020 Sulphur Cap on Shipping – scrubbing some of the hot air
The shipping industry has been overwhelmed by the amount of MARPOL Annex VI over-analysis during the summer of 2018. This article will try to breach a few myths that seem to have gained traction in the frenzy.
Myth 1: “The industry needs time to adjust”
Myth 2: “The situation has become clearer in 2018”
Myth 3. “The only practical Compliant Fuel option will be Gasoil”
Myth 4. “Not knowing the fuel price spread, Return On Investment on scrubbers is risky”
Myth 5. “It will be very complicated to value a scrubber-fitted ship”
Myth 6. The market will heave as it crosses into 2020
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2 simple steps to unleash the future
At the end of last year I attended a roundtable discussion on the potential for AI [Artificial Intelligence] in Shipping. There is pervasive excitement amongst the digitally-aware that shipping is on the cusp of Something. This is somewhat constrained by a bafflement amongst the digitally-savvy at how such a high-stakes industry can still be inefficient, its information [data] fragmented, of poor quality, and hoarded to no particular end.
The excitement is not misplaced: these issues are very simple to resolve if there is some cross-industry dialogue, and then Enterprise is released to use some basic building blocks. I would state once again that these building blocks are achievable in 2 steps: recognise and organise the information that flows between us, and then commercialise it. “Shipping” – big place – will become data-enabled, and perhaps we will then see practical uses emerge for AI and Big Data.
"Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.”
Attributed to William Pollard, English clergyman and schoolmaster, 1828 - 1893
Icthus Marine seeks to outline through this paper, in a concise manner, the current state of information exchange in the dry and tanker sectors of international shipping, as contrasted with the container sector.
Moving on from the foundation of this panorama, we outline our philosophy and some concrete proposals, by which all parties could make real gains in short and long term. It is hoped that these can re-ignite discussion on harmonisation and serve as stepping stones to effective action.