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This is a guest blog post by ZeroNorth.

Over a twelve-month period that has proven challenging for many, exacerbated by the growing urgency and requirement for maritime shipping to demonstrate progress on its emissions reduction pathway, more and more industry players have turned to technology to help realise efficiencies and ensure their organisations can thrive into the future.

The level of technological advancement is considerable for a sector which has been slow to adapt to the transformative impact of new technologies, with the disruptive effect of COVID-19 now being felt at all levels of the supply chain. However, as many things change around us, we should also be encouraged by the growing and thriving ecosystem of organisations that are now collaborating, innovating and implementing the technologies of the future.

The core challenge for all these partnerships is ensuring that data isn’t merely a ‘nice-to-have’, but rather acts as a true commercial differentiator and driver, unlocking greater cumulative cost and efficiency savings.

A wealth of data at your fingertips

The need for shipping to decarbonise — and to be able to do this profitably — is an historic challenge for a sector used to commodity fuels and a standard way of operating. Hand in hand with efficient vessel operations, the challenges of decarbonisation will require clean technologies and alternative fuels as well as more intelligent use of data and technology.

Shipping holds a vibrant landscape of information spanning fleets, vessels, fuels, ports, weather and more. This is now being increasingly recognised as a driver of genuine business change. When utilised to its fullest, data and technology can help to unlock and underpin more intelligent decision-making, which is an essential step towards realising greater sustainability outcomes.

However, despite this pool of valuable information and insights, shipping must do more to make its data tangible and actionable. And the blueprint for turning this data into actionable insights must be based on several key principles. For one, shipping’s digital leaders must create richer and more specific insights and information and, perhaps more crucially, present this information in a clear and understandable way.

These are the key pillars which were foundational for the development and implementation of ZeroNorth’s Optimise. Powered by the platform’s algorithm, operators are presented with a quick overview of potential decisions to promote increased TCE earnings and reduced emissions. With our platform as a base, we also realised that we had to think bigger, and form partnerships across our industry – such as our recently announced collaboration with Veson Nautical.

Industry-wide collaboration

We believe that, just as there’s no ‘silver bullet’ solution to decarbonisation, there’s no one player who can solve these challenges on their own. To truly tackle industry-wide challenges, shipping’s ecosystem of digital organisations should embrace integration partnership and collaboration; working together to drive greater shared impact that could not be reasonably achieved alone.

These integration partnerships are becoming increasingly common as the sector becomes more transparent and comfortable with the idea that collaboration can work hand-in-hand with commercial performance.

Take our Platform Partnership with Veson, for example. By using a secure API, data from the Veson IMOS Platform (VIP) is nativley integrated into Optimise where it can be used for voyage optimisation. This leads to concrete actions being generated for the operator, powered by data, to improve their time charter equivalent rate (TCE) while also lowering CO2 emissions.

Not only does the Platform Partnership enable greater insights for customers, but the data integration is also itself straight-forward, saving mutual clients the complexity of having to share this data manually, and providing the reassurance that their valuable vessel and fleet data is transferred securely.

Ultimately, the integration encourages users from across the sector to work together and realise actionable insights from their data; something that is only possible by breaking down data silos and generating tangible commercial — and environmental — benefits from digitalisation.

What’s next?

Turning data into actions is a vital part of shipping’s decarbonisation journey. It reflects a solutions-based approach to the pressure for change and greater transparency. Moreover, it is something that can be achieved now; by using the power of digital technologies, owners and operators can immediately act on their emissions output whilst also increasing revenue.

And initiatives like our collaboration with Veson Nautical will help to scale and accelerate this change even further. It is important – or, rather, essential – that as an industry we continue to form partnerships such as these to transform our industry for the better. Or, in other terms, and echoing ZeroNorth’s fundamental vision: work together to digitalise shipping for the climate.