For many shipping businesses, their experience of digitisation looks a lot like the diagram below...

This usually happens because shipping companies have simply "bolted on" data to their existing processes, often making them less, not more, efficient. Data is also available only in silos and cannot be accessed across the whole of the organisation. For example, one shipping line that I have worked with has separate sources of performance data (one auto-logged and one manual) between their Performance Department and their Technical Department.

For a shipping company to derive real benefit from digitisation, it needs to re-organise itself around the data. Once an organisation has data at its core, this data (both commercial and operational) can be used throughout the organisation to drive better decision making and, ultimately, higher profits.

For a tanker business, built around real-time data, there are significant benefits both on the commercial/revenue side, as well as the operational/cost side. Real-time data, leads to real-time modelling to enable accurate predictions of voyage profitability, as well as extracting the maximum profit from every voyage, through the most efficient execution.

For a container business, there is added complexity on the commercial/cargo side. However, using real-time data, this complexity can be turned into a massive opportunity. Live data, on both the market demand, and the expected voyage costs, can lead to true yield management. This has had huge benefits in the airline industry and can be expected to do the same in the container industry, especially as the structural over-capacity diminishes.

Many shipping companies are already starting to re-organise themselves to make better use of data. With the advent of "always-on" Fleet Broadband, real-time data in shipping is becoming a reality. This can only be a huge opportunity for those shipping businesses that are ready to take advantage of it.

By Martin Penney, Global Commercial Leader, Marketing & Channel Development

Above article has been initially published in Linkedin and is reproduced here with author's kind permission.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.


An International Software Sales leader with a proven track record of nearly 20 years of exceeding targets. I have worked for companies based in Germany, Finland, Sweden, the UK and the USA and have successfully done business in over 50 different countries. My skills include marketing, channel and product development expertise, so that I’m now a strategic go-to-market leader with a deep understanding of the overall commercial picture.

The key to my sales success, has been a consultative approach using the Challenger Sale concept to unearth want the customer really needs, even if they don't always know it themselves. I am 100% focused on closing deals and have always ensure that I and my team deliver on my numbers.

With a Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Cambridge University, I am equally fluent in both the business benefits and the technical/people challenges that digitisation can bring. This has led me to develop and configure innovative software products and services to penetrate new markets.

Key Skills: Consultative Sales, Closing deals, Rapidly growing revenues, Business Development, Opening up new markets in a global basis, Presenting complex ideas simply, Driving Digital Change and Consulting.