A report sponsored by the Inmarsat Research Programme, called ‘A Changed World: The state of digital transformation in a post-COVID-19 maritime industry’ captures a sector fast-tracking IoT-based solutions from November 2019.
amely, the report characterises COVID-19 as a “universal disruptor and catalyst for digital transformation”, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a large increase in the adoption of digital tools across the industry.
However, it also notes that there is more to digital transformation than adopting digital tools, making a genuine transformation to still be some years away.
Nonetheless, there is zero doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated the process, average daily data consumption per vessel increased from 3.4 to 9.8 gigabytes between January 2020 and March 2021.
In fact, the impact of COVID-19 on ship operations is shown by a massive increase in the use of remote services such as pilotage and surveying. Similarly, crew training and officers examinations went fully online for the first time ever in some jurisdictions.
More broadly, global trade facilitation saw an explosion in the use of digital tools including massive growth in consumer demand for e-commerce and the use of online booking platforms for shipping freight
More specifically, 2020 saw a small fall in spending growth on digital tools developed, especially for the maritime industry. However, there was significant investment in general IT infrastructure.
Before the pandemic, global spending on digital products and services in the maritime sector was expected to be $124bn in 2020. Inmarsat estimates that the actual spend was $2bn lower, at $122bn, and pre-pandemic forecasts estimated that the digital maritime industry would be worth $135bn in 2021.
But we estimate that the global maritime digital products and services market will turn over $159bn this year; An increase of $24bn or 18% on previous forecasts
Based on this new data, it is forecast that by 2022, industry turnover will be three years ahead of pre-pandemic growth forecasts.
What is more, efforts to decarbonise the maritime industry will need to eclipse the impact of the pandemic by a long way. By 2030, it is estimated that the industry will be worth $345bn, up from a previous forecast of $279bn.
Venture investment patterns saw a similar, but more extreme, dip followed by a rapid recovery. Investment values dropped from $1.4bn in 2019 to just $345m in 2020.
We estimate that by the end of 2021 a total of $2.5bn will have been invested with total deal flow up by 85% on 2020 levels, bringing the level back to pre-pandemic forecasts
Looking ahead, decarbonisation is the biggest long term issue facing the industry. In this issue, changing fuel infrastructure is a complex and lengthy process, but digital tools can play a strong role in the immediate future of the industry’s decarbonisation journey.