by Georgia Evangelia Karagianni
Spokesperson: Soren Meyer, CEO, ZeroNorth
Τhe general dynamic growth observed in technologies, activates the reflexes of regulators accordingly, causing changes in the relevant regulations and legal frameworks. As outside observers, we see this as a particular challenge that you have to face, because of the need to keep abreast of the ongoing legislative changes in the industry. Would you like to share your point of view? Do you see legislation more as an ally, or enemy?
In the shipping industry, regulation and innovation are, to some extent, linked. But the last few years have proven that as maritime digital transformation accelerates, technological advancement is far outpacing regulation.
The demand from ship owners and operators for easily implementable voyage optimisation solutions that improve their revenue and kick start their decarbonisation efforts is increasing.
This is happening without a clear mandate to adopt digital solutions and when decarbonisation regulations are still relatively early in their formulation, suggesting that other pressures – including consumer pressure – are influencing shipowners.
We see this demand reflected in our own growth. ZeroNorth has scaled from being a team of five in January 2020 to having over 65 today.
In short, legislation will be an important driver for change in shipping, but widespread digital transformation won’t require it. Instead, today we’re seeing strong demand from owners and operators who realise that they can do the right thing for the planet and their operations at the same time through digitally enabled technologies.
Can you talk a little more about the integrated weather routing functionality you’ve added to Optimise and why it will be impactful?
The recent inclusion of integrated weather routing in our voyage optimisation software, Optimise allows shipping companies to master the weather in real time and realise tangible revenue increases and CO2 emissions reductions.
Adding this functionality is important because weather routing is having an increasing impact on commerciality and ultimately on the industry’s ability to decarbonise.
Shipping’s data landscape has matured enough through technology platforms that the benefits of weather data and applications can be shared across an organisation. The added benefit of utilising weather routing on every voyage helps operators to take commercial advantage of the positive impact weather routing on every voyage can have on earnings and reducing co2 emissions.
Integrated technologies can genuinely provide a clear picture of the reality that a vessel faces on the oceans – and thousands of interconnected data points help to optimise vessels in real time for the good of the planet, the good of crews, and the good of operations. That is what we are aiming to achieve with our new integrated weather routing functionality.
It is important that ZeroNorth software has the ability to collect and provide a wealth of information about ships, as (among others) situations can actually be predicted, thus optimizing the ship operations. Shipping is in need of new innovative technologies today and it seems very logical that a new innovative approach like ZeroNorth software would attract competitors, too. Do you see Maritime Digital Transformation as a sector with unique characteristics of competition? And if so, how do you experience it?
Rising demand in any industry will of course lead to a more competitive market landscape. Clearly, competition is important and we’re pleased to be part of a vibrant and active landscape of digital solutions. We believe that one of our differentiators is how much impact we’re enabling users to have on their decarbonisation trajectories and emissions reduction aims as they come under growing pressure to make a difference. A second on is offering one platform for optimisation, performance and weather routing, which put decision making in the hands of an operator who knows the commercial and environmental impact decisions enacted by a vessel make. It is bringing these three functionalities together with quality data from advanced fuel models and intelligent algorithms which ultimately will position our customers to increase earnings today to transition towards a sustainable future.
This pressure is also leading to more collaboration between organisations, including competing organisations, to ensure that we jointly solve the challenges that the industry faces today.
For example, earlier in 2021 we launched a working group of our peers and competitors that is aiming to create an industry standard for measuring fuel consumption model accuracy. The working group is taking advantage of new digital technologies to unlock even more precise fuel consumption predictions, delivering real knowledge and insight, and further enhancing vessel optimisation.
Once finalised, this benchmark will enable our industry to standardise how it measures vessel fuel consumption. With digital solutions critical to underpinning our sector’s decarbonisation efforts, it’s important that we understand if fuel consumption models are accurate enough for voyage optimisation.
This is just one example where we think that a competitive landscape can be harnessed to ensure a common good and where our sector is breaking down barriers to drive real change.
Behind the scenes in software development, there is definitely a set of complex processes- such as interpreting multiple data. To make a complex system work, there is a group of people from different sectors who interact with one another. Is this need for a cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary approach considered to facilitate the shipping industry, or is it just another challenge?
We firmly believe that shipping must be collaborative to accelerate digital impact; building partnerships and software that connects suppliers, owners and charterers.
The company was founded with this exact goal in mind and our voyage optimisation software, Optimise, epitomises this, as we focus on continuing to build a complimentary ecosystem of data providers and other technology leaders, all of whom are integrating Optimise or providing data to the platform.
Our breadth of providers and partners includes Veson, Spire Global , Baltic Exchange and Chartworld, to name a few. The wealth of data on one easy to use platform is what truly sets us apart from other providers and is what helps users transform data into tangible and actionable insights.
Looking at the question from an alternative angle, data driven technologies can also be used to unite key stakeholders working across multiple strands of a business with the same goal.
Our updates enable the benefits of weather data and applications to no longer need to be siloed from each other and ensure weather routing through interconnected and integrated data is having an increasing impact on commerciality – and ultimately on the industry’s ability to decarbonise.