Can “smarter” ocean cargo vessels reverse capacity glut?

Up until now, most of the carrier investment has been made in just making their vessels bigger…not smarter.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor, Logistics Manager 
July 21, 2015
The ocean container carrier industry has been plagued by overcapacity of late, but a new technology partnership may begin to address it.
Hyundai Heavy Industries – one of the world’s largest shipbuilders –  and Accenture are collaborating to design a “connected smart ship” that will enable carriers to better manage their fleets and achieve potential operational savings through the application of digital technologies.

Up until now, most of the carrier investment has been made in just making their vessels bigger…not smarter.
“As carriers continue to over-invest in new ships, they are largely to blame for the chronically low profitability of their industry,” says Philip Damas, director of the London-based consultancy Drewry Supply Chain Advisor.
But that syndrome may soon be changing.
Using a network of sensors that will be built into new vessels, ship owners will be able to capture a range of ship voyage information including location, weather, and ocean current data, as well as on-board equipment and cargo status data. By applying real-time analytics to new and historical fleet data and using data visualization technology to present the insights, ship owners will be able to monitor their vessel’s status and condition in real-time to make data-driven decisions that support more efficient operations. 
Services are expected to include real-time alerts and warnings, predictive maintenance and more efficient scheduling. The connected smart ship will be developed using a combination of Hyundai Heavy Industries’ shipbuilding and manufacturing expertise, and Accenture’s digital and shipping industry experience. As ship owners seek innovative new ways to reduce vessel operating expenses, this collaboration will deliver a range of real-time services to improve the efficiency of their ships, while simultaneously strengthening Hyundai Heavy Industries’ competitiveness.


“Businesses can gain a competitive advantage by embracing the connectivity wave underpinning the Internet of Things and integrating digital services into their products to keep pace with the next wave of innovation,” says Eric Schaeffer, senior managing director, Accenture.
He further notes that collaboration with Hyundai Heavy Industries utilizes Accenture’s digital technology to enable a traditional “products” company to adapt its business model, taking advantage of digital technologies like analytics.
Moon-kyoon Yoon, Chief Operating Officer of the Shipbuilding Division of Hyundai Heavy Industries, says the connected devices can be monitored and maintained remotely.

“With real-time data collection and exchange across vessels, ports, cargo and land logistics, Hyundai Heavy Industries would be able to create additional services and revenue streams to customers across the lifecycle of ships and journeys, removing barriers between different elements of a ship’s operation,” he says.
Analysts also observed that this collaboration may be part of Hyundai Heavy Industries’ plans to expand its business, moving from manufacturing to services.