BLUE returned to the CMA 2015 Shipping Conference again this year to be confronted with optimism, rapidly accelerating new technologies and a ‘big picture’ view of the future of an industry that is expecting accelerating change.
The growing importance of ‘big data’ to the industry was a recurring theme across the presentations and discussions. Of particular interest was ABS and ClassNK sharing their views on the role of class in the storage and analysis of data. ClassNK’s vision of the future highlighted the importance they are placing on big data and the investment that they are making to extract the value from it. ClassNK executive vice-president Yasushi Nakamura explained how its databanks would hold a range of useful vessel information, from their design and sea trial data, down to on-board mechanics and real-time operational profile.
The data discussion also extended into the world of communications and social media, highlighting the volume of social media traffic that can occur when a vessel accident or incident occurs. With most maritime accidents happening within view of the shore, both salvers Reed Maritime and the Gibraltar Port Authority highlighted controlling the message as a key component of handling an incident. Indeed Gibraltar features this in its core ‘prism’ of considerations alongside protecting the port environment and managing operations.
Interestingly, despite the collapse in oil and bunker fuel prices over the last six months, environmental conversation didn’t wane at CMA 2015. Despite comments from some areas of the industry that efficiency considerations were going to decline now that the financial incentive has reduced, it does not seem to be the case. With a day-two session purely on financing investment in efficiency initiatives – chaired by Intercargo and supported by the Liberian Ship Registry – and the likes of Shell discussing the financial benefits of scrubber technology, meeting and exceeding compliance was still high on the agenda.
All-in-all, more than 2,000 CMA 2015 attendees were treated to a vibrant, engaging and – overall – hopeful discussion of how our industry is developing and responding to economic, environmental and regulatory change. We look forward to seeing how progress has evolved by this time next year!