The key to leadership in maritime logistics: solving data sharing bottlenecks


Digital Game Changers companies are calling on the Finnish government to launch a pilot for developing data sharing in an authentic harbour environment. The industry also needs a technical platform that would allow the sharing of confidential data.

More efficient utilisation of data is the key to becoming a pioneer in maritime logistics. When useful data can be shared confidentially and in close cooperation, it helps to boost the efficiency of operations and reduce emissions and provides an extra competitive advantage. These were the conclusions of the maritime logistics working group formed for the Digital Game Changers project of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). The working group was composed of ABB, Cargotec, DB Schenker, DIMECC – One Sea, VTT and Wärtsilä.

The working group identified significant bottlenecks that currently prevent data from being sufficiently utilised. Primarily, we should be able to better identify relevant data and agree on the rules for sharing it between different parties. Business models – how data is priced, who is willing to buy it and under what terms will it be shared – are still immature.

Confidentiality is a key element: how data can be shared without compromising data critical for a company’s competitiveness or what data must be encrypted to comply with legislation or, for example, customer agreements. A global network of ports poses its own challenge. Are businesses willing to share their data with all ports or only with the ones that are strategically important for their operations?

The proposals of the Digital Game Changers for accelerating data sharing in maritime logistics are:

  1. Finland should develop a technical platform for confidential sharing of data. At the same time, the rules for sharing and the means of identifying relevant data should be determined.
  2. The government should launch a pilot project to deal with data sharing bottlenecks. The project would be carried out in an authentic harbour and business environment. It would be useful to utilise the opportunities offered by gamification in simulations. After a successful test, a well-functioning model would be easier to scale up for widespread use, even at the international level.
  3. Public procurements should account for the environmental impacts of maritime transportation, in addition to its life cycle costs.

All the companies that participated in the project unanimously agree on the practical benefits of sharing data – data is needed to improve situational awareness at ports, reduce on-carriage idling and increase the efficiency of operations.

By sharing data efficiently, we can also achieve considerable reductions in emissions.  It is estimated that, on a global scale, there are inefficiencies worth 17 billion euros per year in the cargo flow, and doing away with the need to move empty containers alone could save 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to a study by Cargotec.