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VIDEO: Transas CEO Frank Coles rattles the cages

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Frank Coles

MARCH 8, 2018 — If Elon Musk were to attend a plenary session of the IMO, he might think he was watching a reenactment of the Charles Dickens book Hard Times, Transas CEO Frank J. Coles, told the audience at the Transas Global Conference, Vancouver BC, earlier today.

Calling that Dickensian vision “a sad reflection on our industry,” Coles invited delegates to instead “Imagine a world where logistics companies and cargo owners drive ship design, innovation and demand the level of quality in ship management. Where maritime assets are operated in a global ecosystem of tracking, monitoring and safety. Imagine a world where ships are operated in a ‘ship as a service’ or ‘system of systems’ infrastructure. Where we have replaced the current fragmented IoT and applications model.”

Likely rattling a few cages, Coles, also outlined a vision of a world where consolidation had removed many of the industry’s historical middlemen… a world without brokers, agents, maybe even without classification societies.

Elsewhere in his speech, he said he thought freight forwarders “are going to disappear” and that “until we change the attitudes to the business and the current maritime culture, technology remains just a patch, not a solution ” and that “we seem to be content to have old-fashioned ships and an old-fashioned business infrastructure sitting alongside modern logistics.”

Charging that “regulators are failing to drive home a standardized solution for a safer, efficient, greener ship and solution,” Coles said “We have reached a frankly ridiculous point. Where a lobby of suppliers, owners and think-tanks creates a bureaucrat’s solution in committee. That can take years to come to any conclusion. This is not going to work in the new world. We cannot keep designing a donkey when we are looking for a racehorse.”

Watch the full speech below (or download the transcript HERE).

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