Shipping needs to close the gap between digitisation and digitalisation says Thomas Zanzinger, CEO of Ocean Technologies Group


Speaking at CMA Shipping’s conference last week, Thomas Zanzinger, CEO of Ocean Technologies Group (OTG), outlined why he thought many maritime businesses were not capitalising on the opportunities that digitalisation affords them.

He explained that digitising the analogue information in a business was only the first step and that companies need to rethink and redesign their business processes to really take advantage of digital tools and new technologies.

With data increasingly used in global markets to benchmark businesses against their competitors, it’s never been more important to understand your information.

Zanzinger explained that the growth in connectivity and proliferation of application programme interfaces (APIs) is connecting previously disparate data sets and warned the conference audience that even if they were not on top of their data, then there is a good chance others will be, which could lead to financial and reputational consequences for their businesses.

He added that consumer pressure and investor relations around decarbonisation has already begun to shape financial considerations in the supply chain, citing Xeneta’s Carbon Emission Index as just one example.

As the focus on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) grows, shipping companies must adopt data-gathering processes that can build a positive picture of their operations, giving confidence to financiers, governments, consumers and their own employees.

Zanzinger stated that this may be a challenge for shipping but also presents an opportunity to innovate, an essential component of staying competitive. He also encouraged companies to focus on their core competence and leverage proven existing solutions rather than seeking to build their own.

In closing the gap between digitisation and digitalisation, he believes that companies can break down siloes, leverage automation and drive continuous improvement by connecting people, data and processes to improve performance and demonstrate operational excellence.