Big data is going to change the shipping industry like any other business and it brings senior management of organisations face to face with new challenges, a Nor-Shipping seminar heard.
Richard Clegg, head of the Lloyds Register Foundation in London, said convergence of nano-sensor, telecommunication and computer science technologies had made big data possible in recent years. In shipping, the use of big data should result in improved safety and, reduced risks, as the human element is taken out of the picture. It can also lead to intelligent systems that issue early warning of problems or dangers ahead and predict failure, while providing feedback to the relative systems so these can self-modify to cope with similar challenges in the future.
The cost of data transfer from ship to shore has been regarded as both problematic and costly. However, Hans Ottosen, CEO of Danish company Danelec, said this had been overcome by introducing a system that uses voyage data recorders (VDR) to collect data.
A VDR collects about 16 GB of data/day. Not all of this is needed as big data for analytical purposes and by selecting the parametres relevant for this purpose and by gathering the relevant data every 10 minutes, only 1 MB of data/day needs to be transferred. This will cost just about USD1/day, Ottosen said.
Patrick Berglund, CEO of Xeneta, a Norwegian technology company, said information based on big data supplied by his company was changing the way major shippers buy container freight.
Xeneta gathers freight data, including rates paid, on 55,000 services from a large number of shippers. This means it can offer real-time container freight rate information in the same way that consolidator websites do for airline tickets. “Many shippers that used to have one-year contracts with their carriers realised that [spot freight] rates are actually very volatile and they now have one-or two-month contracts instead,” he said in his presentation.
Paul Osterleev, CEO of online purchasing portal ShipServ, pointed out that because part of the analytical work done today by people will be done by computers in the future, senior company managers face a new situation and questions will have to be asked about what kinds of people should be recruited and what tasks will continue to be performed by people.