The Depths of Big Data Insights in Maritime Logistics

The maritime industry is among the most complex and dynamic sectors in the world. It essentially plays a significant role in the overall global economy, as it provides cost-efficient transportation of goods and individuals and balances the supply and demand of the market. However, ensuring the smooth operation of the maritime sector is a challenging endeavour, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic hit and disrupted the entire supply chain.

The economic and social impacts of the global health crisis have particularly caused numerous challenges in terms of maritime logistics. The term “maritime logistics” basically refers to the process of planning, enforcing, and controlling the movement of information and goods in the ocean carriage. The principal value of maritime logistics has been recognised as attaining a high rate of both service effectiveness and operational efficiency.

However, with the challenges in maritime logistics posed by the disruption of the global economy, the maritime industry is currently having a difficult time achieving its essential objectives. Fortunately, the process of analysing big data in the maritime industry offers a promising solution to these challenges. Big data analytics refers to the collection, examination, and analysis of large amounts of data to uncover market trends, patterns, and insights that can help industries make better decisions. 

Biggest Issues of Maritime Logistics Today

As mentioned earlier, the coming of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about several challenges that disrupted the global economy and affected maritime logistics. It has been almost a year since the World Health Organisation declared the end of COVID-19 as a global health pandemic, but the maritime industry is still reeling from its financial and operational impacts. Here are some of the major issues of maritime logistics faced by the shipping sector today:

1. Data Inaccuracy

Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) reliability is one of the most significant challenges faced by the maritime logistics industry today. Ever since digitalisation has arrived, carriers and third-party service providers have been able to deliver extra data with regard to ETA or revised date of arrival. However, such data is frequently corrupted by the absence of standardised data between carriers. For more than 40% of logistics professionals, ensuring schedule reliability through accurate data has been very challenging in the past few years.

2. Coordination Problem

Coordination with trade partners has been a big issue for maritime logistics companies as well. On average, big shippers have numerous freight forwarders, all of which use different data and software. Based on a survey carried out by BuyCo in 2021, more than 50% of the respondents are partnering with over two freight forwarders.

Aside from this, carriers also utilise a variety of systems. Incoherent systems result in silos of information, which prevents real-time sharing of information by trade partners. This lack of coherence amplifies the structural uncertainty in ocean freight, thereby leading to additional costs and difficulties in handling daily operations. 

3. No Real-Time Tracking

Many logistics professionals currently find it hard to track and trace their containers. As a matter of fact, over 60% of logistics professionals consider tracking containers as an extremely challenging task. This is also attributable to the fact that carriers employ different standards when it comes to defining events for container shipping.

How Big Data Insights Can Help Solve These Issues 

The numerous challenges of maritime logistics can be overcome with the application of big data analytics in the maritime industry. Over the past couple of years, big data analytics has sprung up as a game-changer that enables enterprises to collect, analyse, and leverage huge amounts of data to make informed decisions and propel innovation. Big data in the maritime industry specifically calls for the application of big data analytics. Before the advent of big data, businesses utilised traditional technologies to analyse massive datasets gathered from conventional sources like distribution nodes and warehouses. However, with the arrival of maritime big data, it has become easier for the industry to operate.

Indeed, there are many advantages that come with applying big data analytics in the maritime industry, especially in terms of maritime logistics. For one, maritime big data in supply chain management and logistics can enhance visibility across the whole value chain. By integrating data from different sources, such as warehouses, suppliers, transportation providers, and consumers, businesses can obtain real-time insights into demand patterns, inventory levels, shipment status, and schedules, thereby improving visibility, transparency, and overall data accuracy.

Moreover, the use of big data analytics in the maritime industry can facilitate collaboration among different stakeholders in the supply chain, including manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers. With the use of maritime data analytics, businesses can enhance coordination, optimise inventory levels, and synchronise production schedules by mainly sharing relevant information and insights. Through real-time data sharing, these businesses can easily identify possible bottlenecks and take proactive solutions to address them, thereby boosting overall supply chain performance.

This ability to share maritime big data and track assets in real time can likewise help businesses in the shipping industry to determine and mitigate risks in a proactive manner. By analysing real-time data from different sources, such as weather forecasts, social media sentiments, and geopolitical factors, businesses can anticipate possible disruptions to maritime logistics and take preventive measures. This ultimately reduces downtime, improves supply chain resilience, and guarantees continuity of operations. 

Conclusion

The coming of the COVID-19 global health crisis has unquestionably exacerbated the difficulties faced by the maritime logistics industry. Over the past couple of years, logistics professionals have been dealing with data inaccuracy, coordination problems, and the lack of real-time asset tracking that disrupts day-to-day operations and cause significant losses. Luckily, with the advent of big data in shipping, promising solutions to these challenges are now being explored and implemented. Indeed, the application of big data in the maritime industry can bring about transformative changes in the years to come, specifically in terms of maritime logistics.

About Maritime Fairtrade

Maritime Fairtrade is an independent digital news platform dedicated to providing the latest updates about the maritime sector in Asia. We take pride in having a team of knowledgeable and seasoned industry professionals and writers who offer our readers in-depth analyses of new shipping trends and comprehensive coverage of regulatory changes in the industry. Our website serves as the ultimate maritime guide in Singapore that helps our readers stay up-to-date about the most recent issues in the maritime industry and provides a multitude of other information, such as recommendations for the best shipping courses in Singapore.

References: 

https://marine-digital.com/article_data_analytics_in_maritime#:~:text=In%20the%20shipping%20industry%2C%20big,the%20life%20of%20a%20ship.

https://sedna.com/resources/big-data-in-the-maritime-industry-use-cases-and-challenges

https://blog.buyco.co/en/challenges_of_maritime_logistics

https://marine-digital.com/article_bigdata_in_maritime

https://www.threadinmotion.com/en/blog/the-role-of-big-data-in-logistics-and-supply-chain-management

https://www.igi-global.com/chapter/maritime-logistics/145636

https://figshare.utas.edu.au/articles/chapter/Defining_maritime_logistics_and_its_value/23056217

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/big-data.asp

https://www.coursera.org/articles/big-data-analytics

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