Hyundai Heavy Industries pioneers Smart Ship Solutions

In early July 2017, South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) announced the debut of their proprietary Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system to accelerate internal communications and navigation efficiencies. Its goal is to capitalise on economic opportunities, sophisticated access to modern navigation technologies, and vessel management and engineering. Far from a commitment to efficiency and safety, connecting vessels ashore appears to be a new milestone in the firm’s pursuit of an Integrated Smart Ship Solution (ISSS) and effective management of stakeholders.

To extend continuity and customer care across the value chain, smart ship solutions go deeper into the management of big data improvements to guarantee uninterrupted, coordinated navigation with increasing availability of fully-functional features onboard, and tested engineering-oriented tools and backups. Through performance, the corporation outlined how ISSS provides a wide range of ship information to operators, including optimal navigation routes and navigation speed along with a slope status of the front and back hull to minimise the resistance a ship encounters on voyage.

Proactive monitoring, along with action plans are also key improvements when it comes to stakeholder demands and engineering methods. It is a clear response to the different voices found within the industry, from port operators who insist on programmed cooperation and productivity at port, to meticulous management of transparency and vessel history from insurers. From an engineering perspective, ISSS allows for safer and more efficient management of vessels by working on energy data and keeping track of powered engines and other equipment for optimised navigation.

According to HHI, the solution, after completing regular field testing and applied in a 6,500 pure car/truck carriers (PCTC) and a 250,000 deadweight tonnage of very large ore carriers (DWT VLOC), is expected to reduce annual operating costs by 6 percent, which, ultimately, would increase profit margins and expertise. At the same time, ISSS addresses other challenges already found in both the maritime industry and business infrastructure, namely; over-capacity, inefficient costs of navigation, sustainable and safety needs, as well as IoT/digital/satellite technologies that tackle dated business models, and excruciating, traditional ways of ship-to-shore communications.

It is predicted that demand for smart ships will have a positive impact on the maritime industry as operational and safety needs are pushing the agenda all the way to the top for highly competitive shipbuilders. Coupled with research and predictions, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will also introduce e-Navigation as a component that provides excellent organisation of data for commercial ships by 2019, which assists the progress of meaningful stakeholder relationships and pushes the demand for smart ships even further.

Beyond the potentiality that smart ships have on performance, there is continuous work and evolution that has led HHI to a competitive level of expertise. In 2011, the shipbuilder launched a cutting-edge version of its smart ship solutions – “a first of its kind” system – and has since implemented the technology on approximately 300 delivered ships as of 2017. Combining unparalleled expertise and internal capabilities, HHI acquired solid experience by partnering with Accenture – a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company – to create an innovative system designed to reach major competitiveness with real-time data.

This collaboration has not only allowed HHI to master the arts of the IoT and built-in technologies, but also to optimise navigation and operational savings while moving successfully from the manufacturing field to services. “ HHI’s technology seeks to align with delivering the key benefits we believe the maritime industry will most benefit from through the adoption of connected, digital and autonomous technologies as the next generation of shipping embraces digitalisation,” said Luis Benito, director of Marine and Offshore Innovation, Strategy, and Research for Lloyd’s Register.

Another important milestone took place earlier in May this year, when HHI and Bhari – the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen long-lasting relationships and commit to current and future projects. Both parties have agreed that working together is crucial to the design of data-driven initiatives that give the green light to a better decision-making process, generate higher revenues, and achieve customer satisfaction in the transportation industry.

As time goes by HHI has taken a lead in the development of smart shipping solutions for safer navigation and efficient ship routing. HHI has also designed a vessel data model as a foundation platform that will secure the transfer of whole data from sea to shore, delivering multiple, reliable services to ship owners. Perhaps some of these technologies will be supplemented and operated by Middle East owners to enhance its collaborations, or it may be the case that HHI would contemplate a successful move from initial on-ship services to a promising, stakeholder-oriented scenario.

Recently, although HHI has suffered a substantial loss of approximately 12 percent of ship sales in 2015, the company is still ranked first with over USD 24.4 billion worth of vessels on order as of 2016. However, important technology developments along with green and other stakeholder demands are once again re-defining the industry. “According to Clarkson Research, about 6,500 ships are to be ordered globally for the next five years. Considering the global shipbuilding market share attributed to HHI, ISSS is to be installed on approximately 700 ships for the comparable time period,” continued Benito.

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