Maritime Industry Expanding Digital Transformation for Security, Capacity Solutions

A new report by ABI Research says maritime suppliers will increasingly adopt solutions for security, overcapacity and accurate cost models over the next five years.

New digitization solutions have enabled maritime freight industries to introduce new approaches that would reduce non-value-added activities. With the new research, suppliers have pushed to address this issue.

Revenue in the global maritime freight transportation industry is expected to grow by more than $89 billion by 2023, with last year’s revenue at $166 billion.

Susan Beardslee, principal analyst at ABI Research, said e-commerce and digitization  are majors drivers of the revenue increase.

“We see the global influence of e-commerce, so what I would call the Amazon and Alibaba effect,” Beardslee said. “So as you have a lot of goods that are transported east to west and also from Europe, obviously it’s global, but certainly the e-commerce is driving a tremendous amount of good across maritime and the value of those goods.”

Big data, analytics, blockchain, electrification-assisted and automated operations, drones and robotics, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will drive increased revenues and profits, according to the report.

Global spending on maritime cybersecurity is also expected to increase to $1.7 billion in 2023 to address new and current threats.

Beardslee said more technology in the maritime industry leads to more transparency.

“So being able to track that maritime, which if you consider that can take an entire month, give or take 30 days for those goods to go end-to-end as far as port support, having the visibility and also the flexibility to make changes to the route or to offsetting things into other modes of transport,” Beardslee said.

Beneficial Cargo Owners, Sigfox, ORBCOMM, IBM, Microsoft and others are partnering with providers to navigate the digital transformation in the maritime industry.

Beneficial Cargo Owners are increasing supply chain visibility and automation from “predictive logistics provider ClearMetal, Xenata’s crowdsourced, on-demand, real-time benchmark and market intelligence, Flexport’s digital procurement platform and Freightos’ marketplace for rate management.”

Sigfox has a new service offering real-time geolocation tracking for containers.  ORBCOMM, an industrial IOT provider, offers “reefer management solutions” and two-way vessel monitoring.

IBM partnered with Maersk Line and Cisco for blockchain and smart connected ports. Microsoft partnered with OOCL for AI. Guangzhou Shipyard International Company, Port Liner, and Torqueedo are growing efforts in electrification.

Beardslee said the most important detail in the report is on gaining the visibility and not having gaps in the supply chains.

“I think that’s the most important aspect of the digitization of maritime is not having a gap of up to a month in your supply chain,” Beardslee said. “And then, like I said, also the flexibility in order to make, to adapt to conditions on either demand or supply. I think those are the most important.”

All the findings are from ABI Research’s Digital Transformation of Maritime Freight report, which is a part of the company’s Intelligent Transportation & eFreight research service.

Hira Qureshi is a summer intern at Homeland Security Today. She attends the University of Memphis. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in political science and French. She has lived in Memphis, Tennessee for 19 years. She has previously interned at Congressman Steve Cohen's office, a Muslim non-profit, Teen Appeal, Islamwich and Islamic Horizon Newspaper. She currently works for the Daily Helmsman and Pleasant View School.

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