Start-ups to push ship tech market to $278bn by 2030, claims new study

A new study commissioned by the Inmarsat Research Programme and conducted by research firm PUBLIC has concluded that the entry of a variety of new start-ups will play a key role in making the supply of digital products and services to the maritime sector a $278 billion market by 2030.

The report, ‘Trade 2.0: How Startups are driving the next generation of maritime trade’, co-authored by Nick Chubb and Leonardo Zangrando, estimates that the ship technology (ShipTech) market is worth US$106bn as a whole today, with the majority of spending going to large enterprise technology providers.

However, the report predicts that future expansion of the market will be underpinned by exponential growth for maritime start-ups and SMEs, which are expected to take a significant share of an estimated $278bn ShipTech market by 2030.

The report says that, in 2018, just $4.2bn of digital spending went to start-ups and small innovators, with the rest going to corporations that also sell operational technology and hardware. As barriers to consume digital services at sea come down, the total spending on digital services from start-ups and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is predicted to rise to over $111bn by 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate of 120%.

The report also notes that maritime start-ups raised nearly $200m in venture capital investment in 2018, just four years after the creation of the world’s first accelerator dedicated to the sector. Last year 25 programmes existed, with 226 start-ups collectively ‘graduated’ to date.

The researchers note that this projection is based on direct input from 100 start-ups, and data from two years of tracking 240 active start-ups from the authors’ database of maritime innovation.

“These are exciting results for our industry, showing that start-ups and investors should see maritime as offering significant market opportunities for the next ten years,” said Ronald Spithout, President Inmarsat Maritime.

“As this important report shows, it is more important than ever for start-ups, corporate suppliers and ship operators to collaborate. We’re championing open innovation, collaboration and partnership, and reaching out to identify opportunities to co-research and co-create new digital products with external innovators to serve our existing customers and open up new markets.”

“Exciting new collaborations with some of the start-ups covered in this report are bringing game-changing digital products to the maritime industry.”