The perfect storm

10 Mar 2017

Frank Coles, Transas CEO

Frank Coles, Transas CEO

Frank Coles, CEO of Transas, spoke about the perfect storm of digitalisation and commoditisation which is emerging in the shipping industry which is creating a new world for maritime.

Speaking at the Transas Global Conference in Malta, it was explained
that as technology impacts the way of doing business and the middle man is
removed by the digitalisation creating commodity driven efficiency – the perfect
storm is developing.

He said: “Many will conclude it is all the fault of
President Trump but in fact it is actually nothing to do with him. If anything
he is going to enable the industry to think smarter because he is also beginning
change. The perfect storm is the one confronting the maritime industry.”

“Have we ever paused to consider how these changes will play
out within the context of the maritime and shipping industries to reflect on
the true implications? I anticipate several defining moments on the horizon and
the possibility of a totally new model of shipping,” Mr Coles added.

The speech spoke about how the likes of Alibaba, Amazon and
Walmart are now starting to shake up the shipping world. The major e-commerce
players are striving to take greater control over logistics and directly over
transportation which is causing disruption in the shipping space.

As Amazon moves into the shipping business it is singing
leases of aircraft and trying to compete with FedEx and UPS. While Walmart is
looking to take complete control of its own ships and Alibaba has signed up
with Maersk, CMA CGM and Zim Lines.

Mr Coles’ speech continued: “The discussions about unmanned
ships, smart operations and improved efficiency are really only code for the
end of the current maritime model. The maritime industry is part of the first
mile segment of the shipping business.”

He went on to say: “The ships that are built will have to be
more automated, more efficient and built for purpose… Anything is possible once
you introduce efficiency of a scaled smart operations model in the maritime

Transas has created THESIS – the Transas Harmonized Eco
system of Integrated Solutions. This provides a unified platform for the
maritime segment of transportation. THESIS is a platform with shared data
services, decision support tools and applications to enable the digital
maritime industry to operate. 

“Our business will be about more than supplying an ECDIS. We
have shifted to supplying the decision support infrastructure tools to enable
the smart operations of the maritime section of the shipping industry,” said Mr

The speech concluded: “As we have already discussed, the
largely untouched maritime segment of the supply chain is now changing, and
that change is going to accelerate as more innovative players come in and
challenge the status quo. 

Ship-owners, vendors, equipment suppliers,
service providers, agents, repair companies will all face major challenges in
the digital environment. The role of the middle man becomes redundant, eliminating
many of the inefficiencies that have traditionally cushioned the industry, as a
new more streamlined model takes shape.”

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