Digital Marine news

Frank Coles about marine data sharing and Disruption of ESG

The technology vendors along with the maritime media create a mesh mash of confusion for the owners and customers in general. There are so many companies, that only do part of a solution, yet claim to have the answer for routing, data manipulation, or weather optimization.

Marine Data Sharing


Weather data has long been shared with multiple weather companies, whether it is a mariner staring out to sea or weather ships in the days of old.  Now satellites and buoys gather data in huge amounts.  Weather data and weather routing is by today's technological standards, old hat.  There are multiple companies and sources of data available and the algorithms are well established.

Safe navigation and voyage optimization products are also quite well established, though it is harder to find experts and align the validity of the data with the suggested routes.  Manual data entry versus automation is one of the main issues in this regard.  An industry that still largely relies on manual data entered into its complex algorithms will get garbage in and hence garbage out.

Where we have long had the issue is the gathering of engine data, and yes emissions is one of these.  Why, because the large engine manufacturers and other vendors all use their own protocols and they use their own closed loops.  Sharing data is a crime in shipping, a bit like seafarers rights.  

Are there companies seeking to get at this data from the engines, data that will provide the evidence of emissions, sustainability efficiency, etc? Yes many are now appearing that have in one form or another tried to provide a solution to the problem of access to the data.  The other problem is, of course, owners who don't want to share. Don’t want to share with charterers, regulators, etc.

The first problem is that the current solutions to access the data of the multiple systems are cumbersome and expensive and involve multiple-day installs.  This is something that I think is going to change with some of the newer technology and systems that some of the companies I am working with are working on.  Think $3000 for an install and in one day.  Which will give the access to the emissions, the sustainability readings and bypass any of the blocks the large vendors put in place.  This code module will solve the access issue and be available to all to install and enhance their products that do the analytics, algorithms, etc..

Disruption of ESG and EU taxonomy requirements

As to the second problem, here the industry is going to be disrupted.  ESG requirements, the EU taxonomy requirements, the demands of charterers and shippers are fast going to make it imperative that ships are fitted with tools for “true, trusted, and independent” data on the compliance with emissions and green behaviors.

Regulations and cargo owners (charterers, shippers, etc) are going to drive this change to the point the ships will not be hired without the data being supplied the equipment fitted to provide the data, in a “true trusted and independent” manner.  I don't think people miss the point, the point is the method to solving the accuracy of the data and the driver to making the data valuable is about to collide and split the atom.

Frank J Coles LLM FNI, Principal, Consultant and Advisor

Read also Frank Coles (ex-CEO Transas) joins green shipping startup to reinvent the vessel operations

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