Aalborg, Denmark, January 13, 2022.

Crippling uncertainty? Check. A raging pandemic? Check. Significant cost increases? Check. Reduced operational efficiency negatively affecting maritime management? Check. All these issues (and more) are pushing businesses to reconsider how they survive and adapt in a time when shipping supply chain disruptions are causing chaos across the oceans.

By Martin Dommerby Kristiansen, former CEO of GateHouse Maritime

According to the Global Liner Performance (GLP) report, container schedule reliability remained under 40% in 2021, falling to an all-time low of 33.6% in September and down from 65-80% in 2019. As a result, freight forwarders, vessel owners, and shipping companies are cursing the sky and demanding better ocean visibility as shipping supply chain problems continue with no end in sight.

However, not all is lost. Whilst the shipping industry’s landscape looks rocky, there are several trends set for 2022 that can steer the shipping industry away from turbulent waters.

1. Approaching Maritime Management with a Different Mindset

Remember when the Ever Given container ship (otherwise known as The Boat That Broke the World) got stuck in the Suez Canal for almost a week? That fiasco caused untold global shipping supply chain disruptions. According to reports, the stuck vessel prevented nearly $10 billion worth of trade. I still believe this happened due to poor and inefficient maritime management.

For maritime management to operate more smoothly in 2022, there must be an acute focus on data-driven decision-making and a proactive approach to business, even when a stuck container ship practically ruins the entire shipping supply chain in one fell swoop.

A combination of three principles ensures efficient maritime management:

  • Visibility — Accessing accurate, real-time, and end-to-end data to know where containers are presently located
  • Analytics — Processing valuable data to support crucial operational decision-making
  • Predictions — Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to better predict and help organize maritime management and logistics and bolster supply chain operations.

By following these three principles, I’m confident that all businesses can revitalize and reinvigorate their maritime management operations as long as they embrace new management approaches and push for decision-making through data.

2. Historical Data is History: Embracing Accurate Real-Time, Predictive Data

One of the most vital trends in 2022 will be to use innovative artificial intelligence and machine learning technology in modern data management practices. Advanced AI and machine learning can help companies utilize data to predict, analyse, and take action quicker than ever before.

I recently published a comprehensive article outlining the four ways the shipping industry can utilize and harness the power of machine learning.

One of the most important cases is accurately predicting container ETAs, which I briefly explain below.

Accurate container arrival predictions

Instead of clasping your hands together and praying to the shipping logistics gods for accurate container ETA predictions, you can confidently predict when your shipping containers will arrive by using technology centered around machine learning technology.

Using the GateHouse Destination Predictor, which automatically compiles the relevant data, you can predict when your vessel will arrive five days into the future with more than 97% accuracy — all thanks to machine learning.

What’s more, there’s no need to go through the laborious process of manually inputting data, updating spreadsheets, or wasting valuable person-hours. The Predictor does everything for you in a fast, reliable, and efficient way.

3. Using the Unlimited Power of Data and Data Sources

Ocean data is available everywhere, all thanks to the proliferation of technology and the enormous computing power behind it. You don’t need to search high and low. It’s all there in front of you.

There are two primary sources of data: Open-source data and proprietary data. Both sources are equally vital but in different ways.

Open-source data

Open-source data refers to information that can be shared by anyone, anywhere, and at any given time without restrictions.

Ocean Action Hub, an open and interactive website that provides crucial marine information and promotes ocean sustainability actions, is a key example of open-source data in the shipping industry.

Through Ocean Action Hub, you’re able to explore a wealth of data from the NOAA, IMO, UNWOA, Fishbase, and other marine-related organizations. The data covers various topics, including biodiversity, ecosystem protection, and global marine environment reporting.

Similarly, LitterBase, a database summarizing results from nearly 3,000 scientific studies and compiling them into digestible maps and figures, allows you to better understand the implications of marine litter and microplastics and how it negatively affects the ocean environment. LitterBase regularly updates its information, giving you the most up-to-date marine litter analyses.

Proprietary data

On the other side of the coin, you have proprietary data. Proprietary data is non-public information owned by a private individual, organization, or group typically protected by strict copyright and data protection.

Several privately-owned vendors offer proprietary data to freight forwarders, shipping companies, and vessel owners in the shipping industry. The most valuable proprietary data is accurate, real-time ocean visibility information and analysis. This information and analysis are uploaded onto easy-to-use software applications and presented on simple app dashboards, helping companies make quick data-driven decisions.

4. Taking a Leaf Out of the Airline Industry’s Playbook

Companies within the airline industry rely heavily on AI, data science, and machine learning to optimize and damn-near-perfect every aspect of their operations globally.

I expect maritime management to follow suit and take a leaf out of the airline industry’s playbook in 2022. Let’s be honest; the foundations are already there waiting for us to use.

For example, GateHouse Maritime’s Data Foundation provides access to data across over 273 billion data points. Its master data comes from over 250,000 vessels, more than five million containers, and 4,000 individual ports and terminals worldwide.

Furthermore, several other AI-powered startups, research organizations, and other data-driven companies offer immensely valuable information to boost the shipping industry’s operations on par with the airline industry.

From managing vessels, port operations, and route mapping to tracking performance and optimizing every process in the shipping supply chain, we can make drastic and permanent changes, especially with all the data, information, and resources at our fingertips.

I predict maritime management will change from a reactive mindset to a proactive attitude as we continue to cover the waters piece-by-piece, one wave at a time.


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