It’s not about the ship

In taking the stage at the recent DigitalShip Two conference in Singapore, Anwar Siddiqui of Saudi shipping company Bahri made a brave admission. This keynote speaker had just two years in shipping – in addition 20 years devising data and technology solutions in the software domain.

It must have been an interesting two years for Siddiqui, who acts as Advisor to the CEO and is in charge of one of the largest big data projects run by a single company. The early results, he suggests, point to a future in which shipping moves past the current focus on big data from the vessel to a much more holistic data-driven business model.

Proposing that shipping’s future will no longer be about picking up cargo at point A and discharging it at point B, he listed the industries – telephony, mapping, information search, road and air transport, media and money, that had either been transformed by the digital economy or are in the process of doing so.

“Shipping has changed but ships generating data is not new. We generate terabytes of data at Bahri but it’s really not about getting the data, it’s about the insights to be mined and the decisions to be made,” he said. “We are students of data science, we have to computationally decide how to use and present the data to decision-makers, which could be the charterer, voyage manager, master or crew. All of them can be aided by data science.”

The amount of data points available daily in shipping could be between 110 and 120 million but how much cannot really be known. And because it is not humanly possible to know them all, it could be half that number or more, he said.


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