The shipping world needs to wake up and embrace the philosophy of smart shipping because it is already here and the downturn in the world economy is not going to last forever, according to Panos Kirnidis, CEO of the Palau International Ship Registry.
“The maritime industry knows that smart ships and smart technology is the way forward and yet there seems to be reluctance on the part of some owners to fully embrace the technology. When the world economy turns and the shipping world recovers, progress in technology will be one of the real driving forces. The time to embrace this technology is now. Smart ships are here and so are smart registries.”
Smart shipping is still likely to be on the back-burner until the world economy picks up but this has not stopped the ongoing rush to develop the technologies behind it, according to Panos Kirnidis.
“Information holds the key to smooth operations and that will be unaffected by the state of the world economy and how the shipping market is reacting. It is now we have to invest and develop smart technologies, not in the future when the shipping world recovers. Then you will be behind the curve and racing to catch up with other registries. Ship owners need to be prepared for this recovery and so do registries. Smart technologies will impact the way we offer ship owners and managers solutions to keep them at sea. As a ship registry we need to be able to offer technology that covers operations, maintenance and data collection. It’s now about accountability and data management.”
Palau International Ship Registry introduced a new Deficiency Prevention System (DPS) at the end of 2016 through a dedicated department monitoring all Palau ships to reduce deficiency and casualty rates, part of the registry’s drive towards cementing its position as a smart flag.
“There still seems to be some reluctance on the part of a number of registries to embrace the digital age. Along with our DPS we also have our own web-based solution (Smart Electronic Flag) offering ship-owners the information they need to retrieve the key performance indicators for their fleets. It is another step into the smart technology environment we see as vital to any registry in the 21st century. We’ve moved on from paper and waiting times to digital information on demand. Performance needs to work towards efficiency and cost-effective operations need smart technology to drive them.”
Recent investment in building smart ships and the advent of autonomous vessels has woken the shipping world up to a new way of working. Panos Kirnidis sees this as the next step in the transition period.
“Ship owners need confidence and that comes from working with registries that have the knowledge and foresight to move with the times. It is now a world where monitoring and data transfer is demanded at a moment’s notice. You can’t do that if you’re still working purely with paper and systems designed and built in the last century.”