V.Group’s Stephen Macfarlane Participates in Global Maritime Club Summit at Posidonia

Posidonia, Greece’s leading international shipping exhibition took place earlier this month, and V.Group took centre stage with other industry experts to talk about the key issues facing the shipping industry.  Key on the agenda was the importance of the digitization of the shipping industry.  V.Group’s chief information officer, Stephen Macfarlane took part in the GMC Summit entitled: ‘Digitalization Demystified’.

Stephen spoke about how his background as a seafarer in his earlier career aids his work today, and the importance of crew being in the decision-making loop.  He talked about the introduction of the master’s dashboard in 2018/2019 and its role in enabling crew to be more knowledgeable about their ship’s efficiencies, effectiveness and ability to plan with certainty.  Stephen commented:

“Through the dashboard, a vessel’s captain understands the value of data and recognises the significance it plays in ensuring a sustainable and optimized performance of the vessel.”

Moderated by Darren Shelton, chief product officer and co-founder of FuelTrust, the discussion looked to the use of artificial intelligence in the maritime and shipping industry.  Stephen outlined V.Group’s  AI platform, Sentinel,  which is designed to be a digital knowledge worker – functioning 24 hours a day. It constantly monitors complex data such as arrival, safety, fuel, weather and uses its intelligence to accurately predict an outcome.  Stephen explained that AI is a key accelerator in the business and commented: “it removes risk and produces certainty”.

Stephen set out a vision for an industry 4.0. “We will be on a journey and at some point in time we will stop sending ships around the world in ballast to pick-up voyages, we’ll stop anchoring ships in ports for 28 days because we’ll all be in a common digital eco-system and we’ll actually know when we’re picking up the cargo, which makes the most economic sense and delivering it to the right place at the right time.”

Nevertheless, he felt that the industry was not there yet, indeed current port delays were the worst ever seen. “But that’s the journey this industry will go on, because if we don’t go on that journey, we will never meet decarbonization requirements.”

The discussion was reported on by https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/technology/deriving-value-innovation-and-digitalisation