Look around any room in your house and you’ll get a sense of how much the maritime industry matters to all of us.
Your leather couch, flat-screen TV, bookshelf and the books on it? Those likely came by ship to your local store. Car in the garage? Same deal. In fact, unless it’s a pint of milk, a bouquet of fresh flowers or a pharmaceutical product, many of the items in your house were probably on a vessel at some point in their journey to you.
It’s amazing when you think about it, that our modern world still relies on one of the most historic forms of transportation: maritime shipping.
The first boats used for trade date back to ancient historic times. The earliest seaworthy boats were thought to have been built 45,000 years ago or more. And yet today, now that society has access to a huge, globalised economy and we can purchase goods from around the world at the touch of a mobile phone, that basic form of transportation (though it’s not so basic anymore) still does the job of getting it all to us.
Here are some numbers that may surprise you:
- The international shipping industry is responsible for carrying 90% of the world’s trade. 90%!
- About 90,000 vessels make up the world commercial fleet, representing more than 150 nations.
- 9.84 billion tons of goods ship around the world yearly (in all sorts of interesting trade patterns you can check out in this cool graphic).
And that doesn’t account for the cruise industry (22.1 million passengers worldwide cruised in 2014) and ferry transportation, also considered in the maritime category.
It’s a fascinating, important and vast industry – and it should come as no surprise that organisations in this field are struggling with the same types of challenges so many industries face today. The drive to be more efficient, to make better decisions, to comply with an ever-changing and complex regulatory environment, all of these issues – and more – apply to maritime.
But they’re not without solutions. In fact, from my perspective, the technology of today is ready to answer the challenge to modernise the industry in a way that will prepare it for smooth sailing into the future.
The digital tools we talk about at CSC – cloud, digital applications, modern platforms, big data and analytics, etc. – these technologies can transform the maritime experience, creating and sustaining a competitive advantage for companies.
Maritime organisations now have access to ways to collaborate in real-time with an ecosystem of stakeholders: customers, crews, port operators and beyond. They can tap into systems that integrate shipping routes, resources, financial data, supply chain info and other business drivers to make better, more efficient decisions. They can use sensors and the Internet of Things to track ship condition and improve maintenance schedules.
The opportunities seem as vast as the seaways these organisations depend on — but getting there can sometimes lead through choppy waters.
Over the next few months, I’ll be discussing the process of modernisation, the tools, the benefits, the successes and hopefully bring to light some new ways of thinking about this very old, very important industry.
Join me on this journey, and please add your thoughts here on the blog space or by connecting with me on social media (LinkedIn). I look forward to interacting!
Anna Cebaseva, a CSC client relationship executive supporting global engagements in maritime, brings a new perspective to this historic industry. As the only services integrator with a dedicated maritime focus, CSC offers leading solutions to maritime organisations navigating the journey to the digital enterprise.