Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), one of Japan’s largest shipping companies, is to increase the roll-out of Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service across the remainder of its owned and managed fleet as part of plans to scale up its digital activities.
The global fleet operator is keen to explore the potential application of Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics technologies to drive improvements in safety, efficiency and environmental impact, underpinned by this updated connectivity network.
One recent example of the company’s further move into digitalised operations has been MOL’s partnership with Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding and Weathernews on a new Fleet Optimal Control Unified System (FOCUS) platform.
In its initial stages FOCUS will see detailed voyage and engine data gathered from 150 vessels and stored in the Cloud, and used to build analysis tools that can support operational efficiency and propulsion performance improvements.
New engine health monitoring and fault diagnostics, ’digital twins’ that streamline vessel maintenance management, augmented reality and other remote visualisation techniques that supplement ship-shore interactions are also among a range of new systems under consideration to further digitalise operations, the company said.
MOL was among the earliest adopters of Fleet Xpress (FX), deploying the system on the majority of its car carriers in 2016, shortly after the service was launched. Currently it has over 100 vessels installed, but will now expand on that figure to deploy FX across its entire managed and owned fleet of bulk carriers, tankers, pure car carriers, and LNG carriers.
“As satellite communications technology has grown dramatically over the past decade, we have adopted VSAT from an early stage, for e-mail communication and sharing of images between ship to shore, and now we can also monitor equipment,” said MOL, in a statement.
“The continued roll-out of Fleet Xpress will help implement our forecast maintenance solutions through our FOCUS platform, and we will continue to develop our use of satellite communication in the future to help to continue to digitalise our vessels.”