Research report by Thetius and BV reveals pathways for digital collaboration in maritime


A new report commissioned by Bureau Veritas (BV), a world leader in testing, inspection and certification, calls for greater data sharing in the maritime sector, and outlines the benefits of a fresh approach to digital collaboration that will support shipping’s energy transition.

Written by maritime innovation consultancy Thetius, the report, titled Common Interest, benchmarks shipping’s progress on using digital solutions to collaborate on decarbonisation goals and shows how industry frontrunners are breaking down the technical, legal, financial and cultural barriers.

The research was conducted by Thetius, based on interviews with a series of maritime leaders and case studies from across the maritime sector’s digital landscape today.

“The challenge can be thought of as a network optimisation problem, with many stakeholders in the chain,” says Matthew Kenney, Principal Research Consultant at Thetius and lead author of the report. “As the report describes, caution is understandable when it comes to sharing data, particularly with competitors. Collaboration is an awkward concept in a competitive market, and the challenges include legal, financial and practical issues such as a lack of data standards, data silos and human error.”

The report also identifies key areas where digital collaboration has the potential to open new opportunities for growth and optimisation:
• Collaboration between different software providers and ship operators can provide more detailed ship performance analytics for fleet owners and managers.
• Digital synchronisation of the shipping ecosystem can help address “sail fast then wait”practices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from voyages.
• Data sharing is critical to ensure seamless port visits and help deliver “just in time” arrivals, supporting decarbonisation and voyage efficiency.
• Large-scale data sharing can improve modelling of ship performance, with data pooled from multiple ships dramatically increasing the accuracy of modelling algorithms and digital twins.

The report also identifies four main categories of challenge as the primary obstacles that hinder more effective data sharing in the maritime sector: competition laws; data siloes; costs; and cultural and behavioural resistance. Through the lessons and insights shared in the report, it is hoped that maritime organisations can identify the most effective tools to overcome each of these obstacles. In turn, Bureau Veritas believes that this can lead to a fresh approach to digital collaboration.

“It should be viewed as an opportunity that shipping is simultaneously confronting the challenges of decarbonisation and digitalisation,” says Laurent Hentges, Vice-President, Digital Solutions & Transformation, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore. “This report shows that the time, technology, and trading environment are right to use digital collaboration to evolve and grow. Shipping can achieve its decarbonisation goals and deliver a greener maritime future by recognising the scale and depth of its common interests.”

The report also details a wide range of examples of how collaboration is already working in practice for many partners across the industry, such as the Blue Visby Solution, which aims to eliminate ‘sail fast then wait’.

“We can see the realisation of our vision for shipping’s digital transformation through these frontrunners and the numerous ambitious projects in which BV is actively involved,” says Hentges. “Collaboration is possible, practical, necessary, and mutually advantageous. It is a powerful opportunity, if we can identify and remove barriers that inhibit data sharing, and one that should inspire optimism for the decarbonisation journey ahead.”

The report Common Interest can be downloaded at: