Infrastructures of the NYK Group in support of its aggressive stance with data utilization

August 29, 2018

■Developing infrastructures for data utilization

   Ever since its establishment, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has been striving in every way available for securing safe and stable ship-operation systems. For example, the unified safety standard called “NAV9000” and the development of Ship Performance Analysis rank among NYK’s pioneering achievements.
   While carrying out such various initiatives, NYK has hammered out its program toward “Digitalization and Green” in its new Groupwide five-year medium-term management plan that kicked off in fiscal 2018.
   This program indicates NYK’s resolve to cultivate a solid spirit of being always “half a step ahead” in its drive to further enhance the safety and efficiency of ship digitalization and environmental-load reductions.
   One of the systems to support NYK’s movement toward digitalization is the Ship Information Management System (SIMS), a system that was developed in 2008 for gathering navigation data with the goal of optimizing reductions in fuel consumption. SIMS was developed under the circumstances that the price of fuel oil was skyrocketing and there was no ship data gathering system yet established in the world. In about six years since its development, the system has now been installed in more than 50 ships, including containerships, and has saved about 10% in fuel costs, which translated into a reduction of several hundred billion yen in operation costs.
   In 2015, NYK developed SIMS2, the successor of SIMS that can gather engine-related data as well, and it has thus far been mounted in about 200 ships. SIMS2 makes it possible to gather ship data more efficiently and share them mutually between ships and onshore. Another application has been developed to detect engine troubles at the initial stage and to support preventive maintenance and navigational safety. Further, it is said that another development research is underway for the next-generation SIMS3 for 2020.
   Through its collaboration with reputable IT companies worldwide in the collection of data and development of infrastructures, NYK, with a global perspective, is determined to spare no effort in constructing the foundations that can be utilized for the benefit of the entire maritime industry.
   At present, the formulation of the international standards ISO19847/19848 (standards for shipboard data servers to share field data on the sea and standard data for shipboard machinery and equipment) that are being proposed by Japan is in process under the leadership of the Smart Ship Application Platform Project (with Hideyuki Ando, Senior General Manager of MTI, serving as chairman) supported by the Japan Ship Machinery and Equipment Association (JSMEA) and ClassNK. In this project, NYK has been cooperating by providing the user-based know-how that has been accumulated throughout the accomplished developments.
   NYK also proactively collaborates in the initiatives involved in the Internet of Ships Open Platform (loS-OP) consortium that has 46 Japanese shipping-related companies as members, with a major role of Ship Data Center (ShipDC), a subsidiary of ClassNK.
   NYK advocates in its fundamental policy on research and development (R&D): that is to “fight by utilizing the knowledge, experience, and technology amassed thus far from the perspective of a user, especially in terms of finding ways to cook data and to materialize them in business.”
   As the entire maritime industry is expected to be engulfed in the digitalization wave, NYK has swiftly started searching for the best measures for “how to cook data.”
   And, recognizing the fact that there are far too many hurdles to overcome on the way to the data’s practical utilization, NYK’s business stance seems to be widely focusing on the entire maritime industry.

■Exploring positive collaborations

   The NYK Group has R&D institutions under its umbrella, including MTI and Japan Marine Science. Their outstanding work enables NYK to conduct business at a uniquely advanced level and distinguish itself from other shipping and logistics companies.
   One of the major characteristics of these research institutions, even of NYK itself, is that they actively cooperate with companies and research institutions within as well as beyond the maritime industry. In the area of gathering ship data and developing infrastructure, they collaborate with companies such as Dualog (Norway) and NTT.
   Now, what are the benefits that can be reaped by companies teaming up with NYK? One manufacturer said: “By adopting the views of users, we can reflect directly into the products the kinds of information and functions the users require. It used to be difficult for manufacturers on their own to get hold of data on products installed on ships or in plants; however, through the collaboration with NYK, we now have access to various operational data very helpful in the development of products.”

■Cybersecurity measures

   In relation to satellite communication technology linking between onshore and ships, NYK claims that in the next five years or so it will advance the practical use of various new communication satellites and low-orbit satellites. And this technology is said to make speedy high-capacity communication available even at sea.
   Further, the accelerating shift to Connected Ship is projected to increasingly advance not only the collection of data but also the remote maintenance of equipment from onshore and, eventually, the development of advanced autonomous ships.
   When that happens, higher standards of cybersecurity will become essential. SIMS and other data-collection devices are IT devices and systems and are not involved in the vessel operation, so even if they are crippled in a cyber-attack, it will not be critical to the operation. However, if ECDIS and other devices in the Operation Technology (OT) side get linked to onshore systems in the future, then cybersecurity measures will be needed.
   At present, NYK is collaborating in terms of cybersecurity measures for the future aspects with ship classification societies, companies, and other entities that are already advancing their initiatives abroad in this field. NYK also intends to collaborate with the entire maritime industry in working out Japan’s guideline for cybersecurity measures on ships.

Data sharing picking up momentum in Europe’s maritime industry

   The trend of sharing ship data is now emerging even in Europe, one of the major centers of the global maritime industry. In the era of Industry 4.0 and digitalization, classification society DNV GL has recently launched Veracity, an open-industry data platform that lists multiple maritime stakeholders in Europe who have put digitalization and big data utilization at the core of their operations as members. Veracity is designed to help companies improve data quality and manage the ownership, security, sharing, and use of data.
   Magnus Lande, Commercial Director of Veracity, pointed out that, “What remains as likely the biggest challenge for our industry is to harvest the full potential of Industry 4.0 and digitalization by combining the maritime with the digital domain knowledge. This requires the acceptance by all stakeholders that business models will change, meaning also evolving issues such as data ownership and user rights need to be addressed. Only then can value be created by applying digital technologies.”
   DNV GL is collaborating with various shipping-related entities in Europe that are committed to pushing digitalization forward, but Trond Hodne, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Director of the company, claimed that, “In some of our pilot projects we have been more than impressed, such as with our collaboration with NYK.”


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SPECIAL INTERVIEW, Interview with Tanaka Yasuo, President of MTI, and Hideyuki Ando, Senior General Manager of the Maritime Technology Division, – Energy-saving and CO2 emission reduction have become focused at IMO again

Digitalization of ships – Challenge of technology development toward manned autonomous ships

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Digitalization by collaboration – Pursuing overall optimization through Operation × Hardware