e-Navigation can be the cornerstone for a new age of smart shipping, but, argues Tor Svanes, CEO of NAVTOR, a new digital reality opens up new digital risks. Security, he says, must be a top priority.
“e-Navigation doesn’t just benefit navigators, it enhances fleet, business and entire industry performance,” states an impassioned Tor Svanes. “It can be the key to unlocking smart shipping and delivering enormous efficiency, safety, cost and environmental benefits for maritime… but due care is required.”
Leading the way
The NAVTOR CEO is sitting in his office overlooking the sparkling waters of Egersund in Southern Norway. A small, picturesque and, one has to say, very surprising location for a business leading the world in the delivery of innovative e-Navigation products.
Svanes’ firm, which only formed in 2011, has quickly risen to prominence through innovative ENC-based solutions that simplify tasks for navigators, while providing added value benefits for owners and operators.
NAVTOR currently provides its products and services to more than 5000 ships in the world fleet.
“e-Navigation is driven by data and enabled by communication,” he explains. “Relevant data is accessed, organized and shared – between systems, teams, assets and facilities, on land and at sea – in a bid to optimize operations and enhance decision making. It connects the stakeholders in the shipping chain ‘joining up the dots’ for simplified, safe and efficient operations. That’s smart!”
Svanes gives numerous practical examples to explain his argument. NAVTOR, he says, has a Passage Planning module that effectively automates this laborious but necessary bridge task, cutting average required administration time (per vessel, per voyage) from 3.5 hours to just 30 minutes. This also eradicates human error in journey planning, a leading cause of maritime accidents.
e-Navigation systems can also create digitally optimized routes, taking into account factors such as real-time weather conditions and tidal patterns, to deliver significant vessel fuel savings. Savings of several per cent of fuel volume per voyage can be achieved, adding up to real competitive advantages across fleets, as well as emissions reduction. Meanwhile, fully connected fleets give businesses the ability to gain complete overviews of vessel movements, chart usage, management and costs, alongside real-time operational data. This delivers huge benefits for fleet management, with NAVTOR offering a dedicated app (NavTracker) to help put this data into action.
“The benefits,” Svanes stresses, “are nothing short of transformational.”
However, the risks are real too. e-Navigation’s connected nature – which will also be key in empowering future vessel autonomy – means systems will be obvious targets for cyber criminals looking for ways to disrupt, destroy and demand ransom payments.
Nor-Shipping 2019 recently highlighted, and moved to address, the growing risk with the coup of attracting Admiral Michael Rogers as keynote speaker at its Ocean Leadership Conference on 4 June. Rogers, formerly director of the National Security Agency (NSA), and chief of the US Central Security Service and Commander of US Cyber Command, is arguably the world’s leading authority on this new risk environment.
“This is an excellent move for Nor-Shipping,” opines Svanes.
“It’s already an essential exhibition and gathering point for the global industry – an unbeatable face-to-face business arena – and with the new Ocean Leadership Conference format it will help businesses chart the best path forward. Admiral Rogers’ advice in that regard is absolutely essential.”
For its part NAVTOR is ensuring its customers are successfully navigating cyber security issues. The firm’s NAVBOX sits at the centre of its e-Navigation solution, automating the distribution and updates of digital charts, publications and other navigational data, and therefore slashing vessel administration and ensuring complete regulatory compliance.
Last month it achieved an industry first with ‘cyber secure’ certification (IEC 61162-460 Gateway) from DNV GL.
“This shows that our global client base can enjoy real peace of mind,” Svanes concludes. “They can unlock the benefits of e-Navigation without being compromised by the rising tide of cyber security threat. The NAVBOX is robust, reliable and 100% secure, encrypting information and operating as a ‘black box’ at the heart of our efficient, compliant and cost effective solution.
“We’re looking forward to showcasing it to the industry at our Nor-Shipping stand in June. Be ‘smart’ and come see us there.”
Nor-Shipping 2019 takes place in Oslo and Lillestrøm, Norway, from 04 to 07 June 2019. To keep up to date with the very latest Nor-Shipping 2019 developments subscribe to the newsletter here