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Fleet Analytics Software: Opportunities, Challenges, And How to Find the Right Solution (6-Step Plan)

Fleet analytics software isn’t simply a tool - it’s reshaping the very foundation of modern maritime operations.

Rising geopolitical tensions, tighter environmental standards, and an evolving compliance landscape are placing significant pressure on industry stakeholders.

In response, the maritime IoT market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.2% between 2020 and 2027. In 2023 alone, many shipping organisations planned to invest approximately £2.3 million in IoT-based solutions, achieving cost savings of around 14%.

As a product of the IoT market, fleet analytics software weaves together a web of devices through data, alongside analytical insights to enable seamless communication between each source to drive informed action. This interconnected ecosystem delivers lightning-fast, real-time insights that empower smarter decision-making.

This has revolutionised maritime operations as it allows you to: 

  • Swiftly respond to changing circumstances and compliance breaches.
  • Reroute vessels based on prevailing conditions. 
  • Preemptively address ship maintenance concerns. 

In summary, fleet analytics software heralds a new era of data-driven decision-making.

To empower you in unleashing the true power of fleet analytics, this Pole Star Global article presents an actionable 6-step guide to equip you with key insights to steer operations toward greater success. 

The importance of fleet analytics software, with its harnessing of big data, cannot be overstated. This article illuminates the vast opportunities waiting to be seized as you adopt such innovative software solutions.

Fleet Analytics: Harnessing Big Data in Shipping 

Fleet analytics taps into the power of big data to thoroughly examine fleets and vessels, driving optimisation in global supply chains. By integrating information from telematics, cloud or edge devices, and GPS, these software solutions can deliver comprehensive insights.

This wealth of data not only enhances real-time and predictive analysis of shipments, but also boosts voyage efficiency, cuts costs, reduces emissions, and fosters more reliable and transparent shipping operations.

Industry stakeholders can use this data in various ways. The table below showcases the key areas where fleet analytics shine, and illustrates the specific applications of big data in each context.

Table 1: Unlocking the Power of Fleet Analytics (How Key Maritime Stakeholders Benefit)

Area 

Description 

Chartering 

 

As a charterer, you can seamlessly combine Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, position reports, estimated times of arrival (ETA), vessel particulars (such as size), and market information to pinpoint the right ship for your cargo.

 

Voyage Operations 

 

Big data revolutionises vessel tracking, banishing the era of notes, emails, or endless phone calls for position updates. Now, every shift in speed, ETA, and other crucial factors can be monitored and managed in real-time. This ensures smooth sailing, keeping the voyage on course and the profits flowing.

 

Vetting 

 

Big data empowers charterers and vetting organisations to delve deep into vessel quality analysis. This reveals the level of risk tied to a vessel's pollution preparedness, safety management, and navigation prowess.

 

Trade Finance, Commodity Traders

 

Fleet analytics software is the ultimate tool for evaluating responsible actors and closing the divide between service providers, regulators, and funders. This dynamic approach empowers stakeholders to take responsible actions in realms like trade finance, commodity trading, operational compliance, and reputational risk management.

 

Oil & Gas, Bunkering

 

The rise in deceptive shipping practices, such as AIS spoofing and clandestine dark fleet operations, has surged alongside Russia-related sanctions and the price cap on Russian oil. But armed with the right data, you can uncover these instances of non-compliance.

 

Unlocking the potential of big data with fleet analytics isn't just about numbers; it's about transforming safety, compliance, risk management, asset tracking, and more. From optimising voyages to cutting costs and emissions, fleet analytics software offers a competitive advantage like no other. Dive deeper into these game-changing opportunities below.

The Big data applications will change the maritime industry in the following areas:

  1. Digital transformation, exploring the impact of digital technologies on business models and operations; 
  2. Applications of big data from AIS, addressing how data analysis, particularly AIS data, can be applied to improve safety, security, and both environmental/commercial efficiency; 
  3. Energy efficiency, covering topics such as speed optimisation and route/crane planning; 
  4. Predictive analytics, focussing on ship systems maintenance, traffic and accident scenario analysis and other decision making and forecasting challenges.” - Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data Analytics for Maritime and Shipping Industry, Cs & Mahesh

Unlocking Fleet Analytics Potential: Improved Fleet Maintenance and Safety 

Harness the power of big data to proactively monitor vessel quality. Serving as your ultimate repository for vessel information, fleet analytics software offers seamless access to certificates verifying a vessel's structural integrity and equipment functionality, while also spotlighting any gaps in vessel maintenance records. 

Armed with this data, you should seek to answer the following questions: 

  • Are vessel safety certificates valid?
  • Is the ship being managed effectively?
  • Has the vessel been involved in incidents impacting its structural integrity?

Consider the case of the ship DALI, scrutinised after its collision with Baltimore’s iconic Francis Scott Key Bridge on the 27th of March, 2024. With Pole Star Global, you gain access to safety management certificates, shipbuilder details, vessel ownership, Protection and Indemnity club information, and more - all consolidated in one convenient location (see image one). This centralised data aggregation simplifies fleet maintenance, facilitating the swift identification and resolution of issues such as invalid safety certificates.

To find out more regarding Baltimore’s Bridge collapse head to: What Will Be the Impact of Baltimore’s Bridge Collapse on Vessel Movement and Maritime Trade?

Image One: The DALI Ship Credentials and Safety Certification

Fleet Analytics Software provides important vessel information

Unlocking Fleet Analytics Potential: Supply Chain Visibility 

Many supply chain visibility solutions struggle with delays and inaccuracies. Yet, today's fleet analytics software is advanced enough to deliver regularly updated and more precise visibility. Equipped with smart sensors and IoT devices, vessels automatically transmit positional data, allowing stakeholders to trace their passage at intervals.

Pole Star Global, however, takes this capability to the next level. With Pole Star's PurpleTRAC and MDA solutions, accuracy reaches new heights. How? By leveraging multiple data sources, including Pole Star's persistent tracking technology. This means, that with Pole Star Global, you can track your supply chain with unmatched precision and in real-time. The aim is to minimise disruptions and maximise efficiency and safety across the entire supply chain.

Unlocking Fleet Analytics Potential: Predictive Maintenance 

Leap from reactive to proactive fleet management with the power of fleet analytics software. Predictive fleet analytics blends machine learning with trusted foundational data to bring greater clarity over vessel movement. Predict estimated times of arrivals (ETAs) and departures (ETDs), port congestion, turnaround times, and a ship’s next move.

But that's not all. Imagine having a comprehensive view of vessel health and compliance issues, allowing you to anticipate potential failures before they happen. With this proactive approach, downtime shrinks, maintenance costs plummet, and operational performance soars.

Thanks to Pole Star's persistent tracking technology, coupled with continuous vessel health monitoring, Pole Star Global delivers robust and reliable data for precise predictions. This ensures compliance, slashes risks, and sets the stage for further enhancements, as elaborated below.

Unlocking Fleet Analytics Potential: Compliance Risk Management 

Navigating compliance in the shipping industry is becoming increasingly complex. With the Russian conflict in Ukraine, tensions in the Red Sea, and stringent environmental regulations, coupled with ambitious zero-emission targets, industry players may easily feel adrift.

Ensuring compliance demands meticulous record-keeping, vigilant monitoring of compliance data, and a proactive approach to staying abreast of regulatory shifts. It's not just about avoiding penalties - it's about upholding integrity with regulatory bodies and safeguarding the legality of business practices.

Pole Star Global is committed to empowering maritime stakeholders with the tools they need to navigate today's complex regulatory environment. The platform’s vessel sanction screening software and illicit activity surveillance offer unparalleled support for identifying and mitigating compliance risks. More specifically, Pole Star Global can:

  • Distinguish between legitimate and illicit ship-to-ship operations with precision.
  • Trace the origin of onboard oil to verify its source. This is crucial in scenarios involving countries like Russia.
  • Provide automatic alerts for vessels and containers entering sanctioned zones, ensuring compliance at all times.
  • Deliver comprehensive visibility into transshipments and vessel journeys.
  • Detect and promptly respond to dark fleet activity and AIS manipulations in real time.
  • Identify dark fleet vessels and note reflagging practices effectively.
  • Uncover vessel ownership details, including whether the owner is based in a sanctioned country.

Pole Star Global is trusted by the world’s top regulatory entities. The platform's unique persistent tracking capabilities draw from multiple sources to map ship positions and activities with exceptional precision. This enables you to effectively identify and address illicit activities with unparalleled accuracy. To discover more on how you can chart your course toward compliance excellence, read: "EU Sanctions Guide: The 11th EU Sanctions Package and How to Ensure Maritime Compliance."

Unlocking Fleet Analytics Potential: Improved Customer Satisfaction 

With real-time data analysis, you can become an orchestrator of efficiency, making lightning-fast decisions on routes and dispatches that slash delivery times and squash delays (this is explained further in the point below). This means elevating customer satisfaction to new heights and fostering unwavering loyalty, all while putting your company's reputation and revenue on the fast track to success.

Let's take a closer look at Pole Star Global’s Podium5 to illustrate this point. Here, voyage planning isn't just about getting from A to B; it's about doing it smarter and safer, all while shaving precious time off the clock and delivering pinpoint-accurate ETAs. And that's just the beginning. With Podium5's arsenal of tools, you can dive deep into vessel performance analysis, seamlessly navigating through past, present, and future insights with ease. Having this proactive prowess will keep your fleet running like a well-oiled machine, minimising downtime, extending asset lifespans, and elevating operational reliability which your customers are sure to thank you for.

Unlocking Fleet Analytics Potential: Cost Reductions 

Mastering route management means tackling unpredictable weather, ocean currents, and fuel inefficiency head-on. Without specialised fleet analytics software, it’s hard to make sense of these variables to devise the most cost-effective path. Fleet analytics software transforms raw data into actionable insights, helping you identify more efficient routes based on real-time conditions.

Pole Star Global’s Podium5 exemplifies these capabilities. Podium5 empowers users to make optimal routing decisions through full automation using its multi-objective algorithm, along with expert advisory. With advanced weather routing and specialised forecasting, Podium5 offers alternative shipping routes that optimise for time, fuel, Time Charter Equivalent (TCE), and emissions.

For instance, Podium5 helped one client save over $24,000 through its voyage optimisation capabilities. By analysing multiple data points, including weather and currents, the shipping company moved from traditional "direct" routes to more efficient and cost-effective paths. To learn more, you can read the full case study here: Unlock Hidden Savings with FleetWeather's Optimised Routing.

Unlocking Fleet Analytics Potential: Fuel Efficiency and Emission Reduction

Effective voyage optimisation naturally leads to improved fuel efficiency. However, advanced fleet analytics can go one step further by monitoring emissions in real time to ensure compliance with international standards. Plus, you have the data to employ a more proactive approach that not only meets regulatory thresholds but exceeds them, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility beyond mere compliance.

Pole Star Global’s Podium5 is a prime example of such innovation. Its emissions module provides a comprehensive solution for complying with the latest environmental regulations. Podium5 streamlines the recording, calculation, and reporting of emissions for CII, EU, UK MRV, DCS, and Sea Cargo Charter. The platform's insights empower users to manage fleet emissions effectively and reduce costs.

By recording and storing emission-related data, historical trends can be analysed to predict future levels, aiding strategic planning to minimise the overall environmental impact of operations.

Fleet Analytics Software: How to Get Started (Your 6-Step Guide)

Fleet analytics software is reshaping modern fleet management, offering invaluable insights that bolster maintenance, safety, and compliance while minimising risks and optimising voyages. With the power to enhance customer service and cut costs, the benefits of advanced fleet analytics are clear. Now, it's time to seize this opportunity and integrate fleet analytics software into your business operations.

Step 1: Understand Your Needs and Goals 

Refer to Table 1 provided above to understand how big data and fleet analytics are utilised within your particular field. This will enable you to:

  • Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Pinpoint the metrics crucial to your operations, including fuel consumption, maintenance costs, route efficiency, and compliance. For example, Charterers will want to prioritise ETA data and operational compliance.
  • Set Clear Objectives: Define your goals for utilising the software, whether it's reducing fuel costs by 10%, enhancing delivery times, or elevating safety standards.

This step aims to ensure you harness the full potential of big data and fleet analytics to drive success in your industry.

Step 2: Research and Select the Right Software 

Navigating the sea of fleet analytics software options can be daunting, with each offering a unique set of features and capabilities. To find the perfect fit for your needs, be sure to conduct thorough research. Refer to the below list as your guide in this step:

  • Compare Features: Seek out software that offers real-time and persistent ship tracking, voyage optimisation for fuel efficiency, comprehensive vessel maintenance records, and robust compliance management tools.
  • Read Reviews and Testimonials: Dive into online reviews and testimonials to gauge the effectiveness and reliability of the software under consideration.
  • Request Demos: Take advantage of vendors offering free demos. These hands-on experiences allow you to test the software's functionality and ease of use firsthand.

Step 3: Gather and Integrate Data

Effective fleet analytics hinges on comprehensive and precise data. When selecting a software solution, you must choose one that seamlessly integrates data from diverse sources, offering a holistic view of your fleet's operations. That is, choose software that: 

  • Collects Data on Ship Location From Multiple Sources: Despite being a crucial source for fleet analytics, traditional AIS data for tracking vessel location and movement can be unreliable, leading to missed opportunities and compliance issues due to inaccuracies in identifying illicit shipping activities. What you need instead is much more advanced analytical solutions that offer persistent tracking, ensuring compliance and optimised voyages.
  • Delivers a Comprehensive Data Set: Look for a platform that not only provides fleet positional and movement data, but also delivers insights on vessel speed, fuel consumption, emissions, and ship details.
  • Provides Historical Data: Looking at historical data enables you to identify trends and patterns over time. You want to be able to delve into where a vessel has previously sailed, who its past owners were, and its flag history.

Step 4: Analyse and Interpret Data 

Data is only as valuable as the insights you extract from it. It's your responsibility to present data in a way that facilitates accurate interpretation. Here's how you can make the most of your data:

  • Data Visualisation: Utilise the software's data visualisation tools to craft compelling dashboards and reports that transform raw data into actionable insights.
  • Identify Patterns and Trends: Uncover hidden patterns and trends within the data that can guide decision-making. Whether it's pinpointing routes plagued by frequent delays or vessels exhibiting higher-than-average fuel consumption, identifying these patterns can drive strategic adjustments.
  • Predictive Analytics: Harness the power of predictive analytics to anticipate future performance and preempt potential issues before they escalate by looking at data trends. This proactive approach to data analysis is essential for staying ahead of the curve.

Step 5: Implement Changes Based on Insight 

Utilise the insights from your data analysis to drive strategic decision-making and implement necessary adjustments. For instance, you can optimise voyage routes based on data to reduce travel time and fuel consumption, and proactively avoid problematic vessels identified through compliance and maintenance records.

Stay connected to the wealth of data and insights provided by your software solution. Regularly review your data and analytics to stay on track with your objectives. Plus, don't forget to stay ahead of the curve by keeping your software updated, and unlocking new features and enhancements along the way.

Step 6: Evaluate ROI 

Regularly assess the return on investment (ROI) of your fleet analytics software to ensure it's delivering maximum value.

  • Calculate Savings: Track the cost savings achieved through reduced fuel consumption, lower maintenance expenses, enhanced operational efficiency, and compliance assurance.
  • Assess Performance Improvements: Evaluate gains in delivery times, customer satisfaction, and safety records to gauge overall performance enhancements.
  • Adjust Investments: Use your ROI assessment to decide whether to increase your investment in the software to explore additional features, or scale back.

Fleet Analytics: Key Challenges to Consider When Using Fleet Analytics Software and Big Data 

A 2024 report, 'Challenges and Opportunities of Big Data Analytics for Maritime and Shipping Industry,' highlights the critical challenges posed by new fleet analytics software and big data that the maritime sector must address.

The Challenges of Fleet Analytics: Cyber Threats 

A report from CyberKeel reveals that 90% of the leading container shipping companies are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Additionally, a new global industry report by CyberOwl, Thetius, and HFW indicates that the average financial impact of cyber-attacks in the maritime sector has surged by 200% over the past 18 months.

The maritime industry's IT and telecommunication systems are particularly susceptible to cyber intrusions, with the growing use of big data heightening this risk.

To combat these threats, choose fleet analytics software that proactively reduces the risk of cyber-attacks through:

  • Enhanced Monitoring and Detection: Software should continuously monitor networks and systems for unusual activity or anomalies that could signal a cyber threat. Early detection is crucial for a swift response to mitigate risks.
  • Predictive Analytics: Leveraging predictive analytics helps identify patterns to predict potential vulnerabilities or attack vectors. This proactive approach enables the implementation of preventative measures before an attack occurs.
  • Real-Time Alerts: Fleet analytics software can provide real-time alerts to system administrators about suspicious activity, enabling immediate action to address potential threats and minimise the time cybercriminals have to exploit vulnerabilities.
  • User Activity Monitoring: By tracking user activities, software can detect unauthorised access or insider threats, ensuring that only authorised personnel have access to critical systems and data.
  • Integration with Security Solutions: The software should integrate with other cybersecurity tools such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and antivirus programs to create a comprehensive security framework.

By prioritising these features, you can significantly enhance your fleet's cybersecurity posture and safeguard against potential cyber threats.

The Challenges of Fleet Analytics: Misreporting of Data 

Misreporting of data poses a significant threat, as it can lead to incorrect analysis and misguided decision-making. Accurate data is the bedrock of reliable analysis, and any decisions based on faulty data can result in flawed strategies, quality control problems, compliance breaches, poor service, and supply chain disruptions.

Ensuring data accuracy involves gathering information from various sources to cross-reference. When it comes to vessel tracking, for instance, this means using persistent tracking technologies to achieve thorough coverage.

Cross-referencing is especially important for compliance when dealing with illicit shipping practices. False positives are common and, if unchecked, can lead to erroneous actions. At Pole Star Global, potential illicit shipping activities are meticulously analysed on a case-by-case basis, ensuring the accuracy of results generated by analytical software.

Live dashboards and instant feedback mechanisms are crucial for addressing the challenge of misreported data. With real-time updates to comprehensible visualisations, you can promptly identify and rectify discrepancies as they occur, thus preventing further inaccuracies down the line.

The Challenges of Fleet Analytics: Reduced Investment in Big Data 

According to a 2022 report by the Global Maritime Issues Monitor, the maritime sector is facing significant challenges due to a downturn in the global economy. Factors such as geopolitical tensions, economic crises, and rising fuel prices are exerting pressure on the industry, leading to heightened uncertainty. As a result, key players are hesitating to invest in fleet and big data analytics, viewing it as a relatively new technology.

Addressing this challenge requires demonstrating the tangible value and Return On Investment (ROI) to key stakeholders. This means:

  1. Showcasing Clear Cost Savings and Efficiency Gains: For instance, as previously mentioned, Pole Star Global’s Podium5 slashed costs by an impressive $24,000 through its voyage optimisation capabilities for just one client. This vividly illustrates the tangible cost-effectiveness and promising Return On Investment (ROI) that fleet analytics software can offer. Conduct your own research to uncover other success stories from software users. Their experiences will provide valuable insights into the potential ROI awaiting those who invest in fleet analytics.
  2. Highlighting Improved Compliance and Risk Management Capabilities: Fleet analytics software monitors vessel behaviour and delivers real-time alerts on suspected compliance breaches, enabling proactive risk management and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
  3. Communicating That Fleet Analytics Software Is the Future: Investing in big data analytics now prepares your business to leverage future technological advancements such as AI and machine learning, ensuring scalability and future-proofing your operations.
  4. Focusing on Integration and Compatibility: Assure stakeholders that modern fleet analytics software can seamlessly integrate with existing systems, enhancing overall data accuracy and utility. Plus, emphasise the user-friendly interfaces of modern analytics tools, reducing the learning curve and ensuring quick adoption.
  5. Illustrating the Marketing and Competitive Advantages Realised: Leveraging advanced analytics can differentiate your company in a competitive market, attracting more customers and contracts. Accurate and timely data improves service delivery, leading to higher customer satisfaction and retention.

The Challenges of Fleet Analytics: Lack of Cross-Enterprise Technology Integration 

Maritime operations involve a complex web of players and processes, often leading to isolated functional silos. Instead, what's needed is a shift towards a more cohesive approach, where industry stakeholders collaborate as a unified community. This demands the breakdown of barriers within and between enterprises, allowing for seamless data sharing to unlock the full potential of big data.

To tackle this challenge head-on, select a fleet analytics provider that serves as a centralised hub for all industry-related data. This ensures that everyone has access to a single source of truth, facilitating effortless data access, sharing, and analysis across departments, partners, and systems. By consolidating important data points in one place, you can foster more seamless collaboration. 

At a business level, this alignment ensures that technology integration efforts are in sync with business objectives and cater to the needs of all stakeholders. This centralised data repository becomes a cornerstone during cross-functional meetings and project updates, keeping everyone informed and engaged throughout the process.

The Challenges of Fleet Analytics: Lack of Big Data-Skilled Workforce 

The scarcity of highly trained data scientists is a looming challenge, one that's anticipated to grow in the coming years. Globally, the demand for data scientists is forecasted to surge by over 50%, with the U.S. market alone facing a staggering 50-60% gap.

Plus, 43% of companies cite a lack of appropriate analytical skills as a major hurdle. While these statistics span industries, the maritime sector is particularly feeling the strain of this widespread issue.

To tackle this obstacle head-on, you require a software solution capable of analysing and deciphering large datasets on your behalf to produce easily digestible reports. Plus, your fleet analytics provider should boast a responsive team that mirrors in-house capabilities, readily available to address your inquiries.

Embrace Fleet Analytics Software for Next-Generation Maritime Operations

Fleet analytics software isn’t just a tool; it's reshaping the very foundation of modern maritime operations. 

As you’ve learnt, the maritime IoT market is projected to grow significantly, highlighting the industry's recognition of the value of advanced technologies. Fleet analytics software, a product of this growth, weaves together a web of devices and data, enabling seamless communication and informed decision-making. 

This interconnected ecosystem delivers real-time insights, empowering stakeholders to swiftly respond to changing circumstances, optimise routes, ensure compliance, and preemptively address maintenance concerns. Fleet analytics heralds a new era of data-driven decision-making, offering unparalleled opportunities for efficiency, compliance, and safety enhancements.

As the maritime industry continues to evolve, fleet analytics software stands as a beacon of innovation for enhanced competitiveness in the global landscape.

Do you have questions about fleet analytics software? Please do not hesitate to reach out. The team at Pole Star Global are dedicated to assisting you on your journey

Stay safe, stay compliant, and sea clearly with Pole Star Global.

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