Lufthansa makes maritime play with IB agreement

Maritime software company IB reports that it has signed a cooperation agreement with Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND), the IT consulting and system integration arm of the Lufthansa Group, to work together on technology projects for the marine sector.

“There are strong commonalities between the marine and the aviation industries,” explained Ralf Struckmeier, LHIND Vice President.

“We are already present in this market with our services and linking with a company like IB represents well our willingness to expand and broaden our offering as a premier provider of quality IT consulting services.”

“We have strong experience in managing complex, high level IT projects. IB has the right and innovative products which the marine industry needs to confront the difficult path to a complete digitalisation of their processes. So, working together is almost obvious.”

Maritime connection

LHIND has already worked on a number of specific maritime projects in the past, such as adapting Lufthansa’s aircraft entertainment systems for implementation on cruise ships, and has also provided IT support services to major players in the sector like Hamburg Sud and Hapag Lloyd.

With this new agreement the company will work with IB to extend the scope of its maritime services even further, applying its expertise from the aviation industry to the implementation of technology for the management of vessel operations.

Giampiero Soncini, CEO, IB Marine

“For many years, the marine industry has been discussing about the similarities with the aviation industry, and how the technological and regulatory gaps were filling up very quickly,” said IB Marine CEO, Giampiero Soncini.

“There is little doubt that the two industries share the same burden of transporting goods and people all over the world, having to deal with routes over different countries areas, crew changes, local and global regulations, fuel costs, safety and pollution issues, massive quantities of data recording and reporting, continuous management of arrivals and departures, logistics planning; but also items such as Planned and Condition Based Maintenance, distributed procurement and so on.”

“The impression though was that the marine sector had always been trailing behind the aviation one. Suffice to think about how aviation accidents were analysed, and how the various airlines were sharing all sort of information which would guarantee an increase of the reliability of flying.”

Technical standards

Mr Soncini believes that maritime can learn a lot from the more harmonised approach to standards and operational processes present in aviation, and was himself heavily involved in the creation of the Shipdex standard protocol for shipping technical documentation when he was CEO of SpecTec.

Shipdex is an adapted version of the s1000d protocol, which has been a standard in aviation for decades.

“LHIND perfectly understands what it means to deal with managing a fleet of assets which are distributed all over the world and which keep moving, while still needed to deal with the specific products and nuances which are peculiar to the marine world,” Mr Soncini added.

“It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this cooperation will be. But for sure, this is a milestone that other companies may look at with wide eyes.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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