From atypical wave heights to more severe winds, weather conditions continue to present challenges for shipping companies. Worldwide, climate change is raising sea surface temperatures — which have increased at an average rate of 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit per decade from the 20th century to today. In addition, extreme weather events are also becoming more frequent, including hurricanes and tropical storms.
Fuel consumption — which can account for up to 50% of operating costs — can be managed with weather data.
Unsurprisingly, a recent survey of senior shipping professionals revealed that 91% believe enriched weather data is necessary. However, one-third of respondents are not currently feeding weather data into their systems, and just one in 10 ranked their organization’s weather data maturity as high. This indicates that many shipping companies still have a way to go on their digitalization strategy journey.
Shipping companies have always faced challenges from severe weather. However, as the frequency and intensity of these events increases, vessel owners and charters alike face tough choices around how to minimize the operational impacts, respond to an increasingly tough regulatory environment, and understand how weather data supports a broader transition to digitalization.
Digitalization in shipping is here
There is no doubt that digitalization provides greater access to operational, market, and environmental intelligence in the shipping industry. The challenge for companies is how to collate, access, and share data internally. The way to solve this is through an organizational change to a data-sharing culture with processes and people driven by a clear leadership buy-in and company mission.
Recently, digitalization in the shipping industry has gone from theory to reality. For example, a few years ago, autonomous shipping and Internet of Things-connected vessels were a lofty idea; today, they are in practice. But it’s clear that while some shipping companies are leading the way with advanced implementations of weather data, many are still early on their journey.
Maturity to weather data adoption appears to go hand-in-hand with access to data on the whole, with weather-mature shipping executives more likely to have additional data feeding into their system. Similarly, they generally demonstrate greater confidence in their company’s digitalization strategy, indicated by only 29% being unsure where to start with technology partners, compared to 69% on average.
Digitalization presents challenges and opportunities
Shipping companies are already using digital technology and data to improve knowledge on customer behaviors, competition, and future trends. This information helps them optimize their processes and match their offerings to customer demand. But through all this, the weather remains an unpredictable factor. Forecast its impact on your business, and you’ll have a competitive advantage.
Monitoring for and reacting to adverse weather conditions reduces safety threats to the crew. It also prevents damage to the ship from excessive motion, slamming, or seas washing over the decks. But understanding and effectively navigating the weather is a critical part of planning efficient, economic journeys. In particular, fuel consumption — which can account for up to 50% of operating costs — can be controlled and managed using weather data.
Learn more about digitization in shipping
Better understand industry approaches to digitalization challenges and opportunities by listening to a replay of a recent webinar hosted by DTN experts and Kevin Knott and Frank Paleokrassas from BW, LPG, & Bernhard Schulte Ship management. Together, they examined pressing industry issues, shared experiences, and explored weather’s impact on their digitalization journey.