HomeAutonomous VehiclesHitachi to make Stena Line smartest ‘cognitive shipping’ company by 2021

Hitachi to make Stena Line smartest ‘cognitive shipping’ company by 2021

European ferry operator Stena Line is working with Hitachi to review its digital operations and smarten-up its fleet with artificial intelligence (AI). The pair will combine to review Stena Line’s existing digital architecture, and formulate a transformation strategy to make Stena Line the “world’s leading cognitive shipping company” by 2021.

The objective is to use analytics-based AI technologies to reduce fuel consumption in order to minimize costs and environmental footprint. Hitachi said it will identify the key factors causing high fuel consumption and advise, more generally, how to make operations more efficient.

Digital technologies are being brought to bear on shipping, as they are on most industrial sectors. Rolls-Royce said in April autonomous ships will be a reality before robot aircraft or driverless cars, despite the maritime industry’s late start with digital technologies. The British engine maker said it will test autonomous tug boats in port waters along the Finnish coast this summer.

Analytics are being increasingly applied to fuel consumption in shipping to plot routes and schedules according to cargoes and weather systems. IBM and Cisco are collecting data about environmental conditions at the Port of Rotterdam, including wind, visibility and tidal information to discern the optimal conditions and timing for the berthing and passage of ships.

Japanese technology firm Hitachi claims to take a collaborative approach with clients to digital transformation. The partnership with Stena Line will see a Hitachi team, drawn from across its business, deployed to Stena Line’s offices to hammer out a strategy to bring efficiencies and productivity gains to the Gothenburg-based shipping company.

Hitachi bases its digital transformation work on a 3:1 return-on-investment model. “If it’s less than 3:1, we won’t proceed,” Hitachi Vantara vice president Greg Kinsey said in interview with Enterprise IoT Insights recently.

Hicham Abdessamad, corporate officer at Hitachi, and chief of its global digital division, said of the new Stena Line contract: “Digitalisation plays a key role in helping industries such as shipping optimise their operations for both financial performance and environmental impact. We are engaged with Stena Line on a number of strategic co-creation initiatives and we see this as an important next step in providing digital expertise to help them achieve positive business and societal outcomes.”

Rune Kleiberg, head of digital strategy at Stena Line, said: “With a structured approach and by taking continuous initiatives, the aim is for Stena Line to become a leader in sustainable shipping. We are pleased to have Hitachi on board to help us in our cognitive journey to improve fleet operation across ship and shore, providing new capabilities for safer and more sustainable ferry journeys, as well as helping improve operational efficiencies and overall vessel performance.”

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