Nor-Shipping is coming to a close. The 50-year-old show does a fantastic job at identifying future trends for our industry. One of the buzz themes at this year’s show has certainly been big data, a term I must admit I hate, but since everyone uses it, I will so that we are on the same page.
What is clear is that big data will revolutionise shipping, and perhaps make commercial decisions less of a gut feel. It’s more a question of how long it will take the industry to handle this step change – and whether all companies will be able to.
Hans Ottosen, ceo of Danish voyage data recorder firm Danelec Marine, reckons shipping is behind on collecting data as to date it has been difficult to collect data and it is perceived to be difficult to transfer the data, that is one of the big bottlenecks for shipping, he told a conference on the sidelines of Nor-Shipping.
Dr Martin Stopford, president of Clarkson Research, said that ownership of data will be a key issue and the unwillingness of companies to share it is very common. He related how he heard on a recent trip to Long Beach that shippers are increasingly bitter about the quality of data container carriers are providing.
“Big data, big muddle,” the Clarkson analyst said at the same conference. He also questioned how shipowners with 10 ships or less who make up 85% of world shipping will handle all this data. These types of companies do not employ tech officers, Stopford noted.
Stopford’s thoughts were echoed by Peter Hinchcliffe, secretary-general on the International Chambers of Shipping, at another Nor-Shipping conference.
“The next battle is to persuade stakeholders to share data for mutual benefit,” he said, adding: “I am not convinced we are in place to fully analyse all this data.”
90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, according to Professor Richard Clegg from Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
Roger Adamson, chief executive of Futurenautics, said the industry needs more data analysts ashore, ideally millennials without much preconceptions of shipping, so that they are unlikely to adopt the gut feel commercial nature of the sector which has led to such a cyclical industry.
All good points, now can someone please come up with a better term than big data please.