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Data usage on commercial maritime vessels has tripled since 2019

Data usage on commercial maritime vessels has jumped more than threefold since 2019, according to new communications analysis by sat comms giant Inmarsat.

The rapid rise in ship connectivity has been further highlighted by statistics showing data usage among Inmarsat maritime customers rose almost 70% in the 12 months to mid-2022.

Analysis of data usage by leading vessel operators shows year-on-year demand for data was highest among container shipping companies, more than doubling, up by 108% in June 2022 compared to June 2021, while use of connectivity increased by 70% among oil tanker operators and by 47% on bulk carriers over the same period.

Ben Palmer, president of Inmarsat Maritime, said: “Maritime data usage is a leading indicator of economic activity and international trade in the shipping industry, which carries 90% of all global trade. More and more shipping companies are upgrading their satellite communications services and adopting new technologies for applications including route-planning, ship-to-shore broadband data transfers and to maximise fuel efficiency. They are also ensuring that their crews remain connected with family and friends while at sea, the mandatory requirement now recognised by the Maritime Labour Convention. Our study shows data usage is on the rise among all commercial vessel types.”

While business is growing for Inmarsat it is facing ever greater competition. For instance, Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink has just won a headline-grabbing contract to install satellite internet across the entire fleet of cruise giant Royal Caribbean.

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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