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CODie: Obstacles facing smart shipping

So called smart shipping cannot happen until cheap, fast internet is broadly available at sea, and shipping companies become willing to pay top dollar for IT-smart appointments. That’s the point of view of Andi Bargfried, ceo of German maritime software developer CODie.

CODie is the second biggest maritime software vendor in Germany, with over 360 vessels using its planned maintenance system.

“If one thing is true for the maritime industry, it is its tardiness in implementing change,” Bargfried tells Maritime CEO. Shipping tends to be a couple of years behind comparable shore based industries when it comes to adopting new technologies, he reckons.

“In our understanding of the market, all emerging revolutions will rise and fall through the availability of truly cheap internet connections,” Bargfried says.

The major obstacle next to the lack of affordable and fast data connections is the change of culture within the shipping companies themselves, the Potsdam native claims.

“In order to implement, develop and keep smart shipping alive they have to attract the right people – IT people. These young and middle aged men and women often want a working atmosphere and remuneration that differ from what many shipmanagers currently offer. Google and Apple both understand this requirement very well and have developed their company cultures according to these demands,” Bargfried points out.

Smart shipping, Bargfried argues, is much more than installing a couple of software products and some new hardware onboard.

It involves major changes in all current business processes, tackling unknown problems, and months or years of preparation – and all this for currently minor returns due to the very high setup costs. “Smart shipping is only valuable when you have a plan for the processing of the extra information,” he points out.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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