Because vessels, crew and assets need protection
A wide variety of hazards exist across global supply chains caused by the combination of geography, human capacity needs and immense scale. The heavy and complex equipment such as vessels, containers and cranes operated in weather-vulnerable (often wet or windy) environments require careful individual monitoring to ensure safety of personnel involved. Operating margins are often slim, caused by the long tail of carriers which is true for small, family-owned companies and global enterprises alike, forcing safety innovations to be cost-effective above all.
Expensive and unreliable offshore internet connectivity and lack of digitized vessel equipment limit visibility of asset conditions between ports. Lastly, any innovations must be adopted across the wide and diverse range of stakeholders in the shipping ecosystems complicating adoption.
Vessel navigation & tracking
The fragmented and diverse shipping ecosystem presents a challenge to improve safety of assets between ports. The often large fleet sizes make it difficult and expensive to install any new hardware that can potentially improve visibility. In addition, the vessels are sometimes not owned or in direct control of the party who benefits from safer navigation, which makes it difficult for a single party to assume financial responsibility of innovating. Similarly, the ROI becomes harder to calculate and, therefore, to justify for individual actors. We thus look for avenues to benefit multiple partners within the wider ecosystem.
Safer berthing can be achieved through innovations to increase automations. This typically requires port-side infrastructure, but ports are not owned by vessel-side stakeholders who benefit the most. Some types of ships and trades are not on fixed routes, requiring many ports to be equipped. This adds to the complexity of implementing integrated solutions.
Further, cargo handling safety and cargo assurance is a key aspect of cargo safety in ports and another area in which we are applying our multi-partner innovation program to create impact across the value chain.
Adverse weather conditions such as snow, fog, rain and decreased visibility at night present a myriad of challenges both in ports and offshore. Detecting danger beyond line of sight, such as people behind containers or local changes in open sea weather conditions that may remain undetected onboard vessels, is a key concern we aim to address. There is also a lot of personnel from multiple parties operating in close proximity, which presents increased risk of injury.
Lastly, we also are addressing chemical spillage and fugitive emissions that can arise from collisions at sea or in port.
Physical and mental crew health
Global and complex transportation infrastructures naturally entail a vast demand for human resources to move cargo across the planet. This should create a foundation for natural diversity across touchpoints, but this is not the case on vessels. A large percentage of crews often come from a few specific countries, making diversification difficult and increasing the potential impact of new Covid-19 outbreaks in these countries. There is also a general lack of connectivity across the touchpoints. We are addressing this and other areas such as workplace and physical safety, mental health and wellness, workforce optimisation and ergonomics, as well as rescue systems.
How we address safety in 5 months
First, we scope the program cycle by identifying specific challenges faced by the corporate partners and distil them into 3 areas to be solved in the cycle through startup engagement pilots.
We then scout and review hundreds of startups to shortlist the 5-10 most relevant and promising solutions that could meet the needs of partners’ priority challenges.
Third, corporate partners and shortlisted startups meet in group and 1:1 pitch sessions to evaluate the potential for collaboration. The 3-5 best matches will advance to address the challenges.
Lastly, we develop an engagement plan to ensure tangible cycle results. Corporate and startup partners agree on the intent to begin testing 1-3 engagements, concluding with a launch day.