We take a closer look at the global maritime startup ecosystem to discover how the shipping industry is currently adapting to digital technologies. We focus our research on performance management, capacity optimisation, value beyond the vessel, and reinventing the operating model.
The four categories may work in sequence or in parallel. The first two identify how the introduction of new technologies can increase the efficiency of the industry, while the remaining two aim to transform the business models of the industry by creating new streams of revenue.
The first two building blocks for the future industry work to identify and commercialise cost and trading leadership. In the early stages, this will enable competitive advantage. In time, mastering these disciplines will simply become a license to operate.
The other two building blocks aim to transform and eventually disrupt some of the vital sources of value creation in the industry. When these are successfully commercialised and scaled up, the value is unlikely to be created primarily by shifting cargo. The future ecosystem players may view trade transactions as a low-level entry point through which services can be added, data on transactions and trade flow can be extracted, and value can be created across the global supply chain.
The shipping industry is still in an early phase of digitalisation. And the same goes for startups within the industry. Most of them are still experimenting with the business model. It is therefore not surprising to see that, at this stage, most of the startups are enablers of innovation through the use of data rather than disruptors of existing business models.
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