JANUARY 17, 2019 — Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), one of the earliest adopters of Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress Service, is to roll out the high-speed satellite service across its entire fleet.
MOL deployed Fleet Xpress on the majority of its car carriers in 2016, shortly after the launch of the next generation service, and currently has it installed in over 100 vessels. Now the company will install Fleet Xpress across its managed and owned fleet of bulk carriers, tankers, pure car carriers, and LNG carriers.
Delivering global high-speed broadband connectivity, Fleet Xpress has emerged as the market-leading pathway to shipping’s digital transformation.
The fleet-wide commitment aligns strongly with MOL’s newly disclosed plans to scale up its digital activities. The company sees the Internet of Things (IoT), in combination with advanced data analytics, as offering huge potential for improvements in safety, efficiency and environmental impact.
“There is no doubt MOL believes that digital technology can have a profound impact on vessel operations and its broader business objectives,” says Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime. “Fleet Xpress lays the foundation for the successful realization of its smart-shipping ambitions by bringing together greater bandwidth and high resilience in a seamless, fully-managed service.”
Illustrating the types of project that will only be enabled through satellite communication connectivity has been MOL’s partnership with Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding and Weathernews on the 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, where it will be available to build sophisticated analysis tools for improving operational efficiency and propulsion performance.
“As satellite communications technology has grown dramatically over the past decade, we have adopted VSAT from an early stage, for email communication and sharing of images between ship to shore and now we can also monitor equipment.
“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 digitalize our vessels.”
New engine health monitoring and fault diagnostics, ‘digital twins’ that streamline vessel maintenance management, augmented reality and other remote visualisation techniques that enrich ship/shore interactions are among a range of trailblazing ideas under consideration.
“Reliable connectivity between ship and shore is critical for these tools to work to maximum effect,” says Spithout. “Fleet Xpress meets the requirement through its unique, fully integrated dual capability of high-speed, high-capacity link on Ka-band together with high reliability back-up services on L-band.”