The Role of Big Data in Shipping and Maritime

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(Image Courtesy: navtor.com)

The buzz word making rounds in the shipping industry today is Big Data. The otherwise slow-moving industry on the technological front can be seen quickly gearing up to avail the advantages that this latest trend has to offer.

Before Big Data came into the picture, traditional technology was utilized by the organizations to analyse large sets of data, collected from conventional sources like warehouses, distributing nodes etc. However, with the entry of Big Data, it is now easier to carry out analytics of not only the large sets of data flowing in from traditional sources but also take into account and analyse the non-traditional data at real-time nodes and also in batches.

The non-traditional data incorporates data existing in the form of text, audios, videos, image or present in any other source related to the business while the traditional data includes the data that can be accounted in order to calculate the profit or loss margins from the voyage. Fuel costs, transit time, wages, revenue etc are the sources from where traditional data is pulled for analyses.

Now the question arises that whether the non-traditional data is quantifiable or not? Well, the honest answer to this question is that some non-traditional data is quantifiable while some are not. However, when the data is in a non-quantifiable state, Big Data helps in suggesting the preventive measures that can be taken to tackle the issue by analysing the data and drawing patterns from the data.

For instance, Big Data can pull out the information on costs and viable routes in case of a storm at the sea, allowing the management to take the required decision on alteration of the route. Similarly, sensor information can be utilized to maximum advantage and issue can be resolved even before it happens.

Big Data also finds crucial implication in vessel operations. Immediate decisions can be made for the berth and terminal allocations on the basis of information gathered via GPS, device sensors or control panels.

Predictive analysis, which plays a crucial role in increasing the operational efficiency of the industry along with ensuring timely delivery, is now a lot easier and convenient with Big Data. In addition, tracking of the cargo, maintenance of security and privacy also gets established in the desired manner through Big Data Analysis.

Big data offers many significant applications in the shipping industry. However, in order to harness the Big Data concept to its full potential, the first and most important thing is to decide the problem that needs to be addressed from the collection of traditional and non-traditional data. This simplifies the process of analyses and it becomes easier to devise better resolution to the standing issues.

As per the current trends and usages offered by Big Data, it is quite sure that Big Data is going to find significant scope in the future of the shipping industry as well. For instance, the data collected from the sensors on the vessels can offer essential information for the better and improved designing of the ships in the future. Also, the testing of the models could be carried out without physically developing them, thereby saving on cost, time and resources.

At last, there remains no doubt that the advanced data-processing and analysis method using the Big Data will prove crucial in the development of the maritime sector worldwide, which in turn will enhance the global economy.

Sea News Feature, July 10