Digitalization and the human element — Recap of the Capital Link Operational Excellence in Shipping Virtual Forum 2020

By Leigh Jaffe, Director of Corporate Development

Nautilus Labs at Capital Link Operational Excellence in Shipping Forum 2020

On June 16th and June 17th, 2020, Nautilus Labs participated in the 10th Annual Capital Link Shipping Forum. This year’s forum was centered around operational excellence and best industry practices to drive competitive advantage for owners, operators and key industry players. Dialogue in the booth chat rooms and discussions throughout the panels and presentations surfaced several key themes that are top of mind for all industry stakeholders and businesses looking to outperform in today’s market.

COVID-19 has introduced even more market uncertainty than originally anticipated and the human element is rising in importance

Market constituents are faced with greater uncertainty due to COVID-19 and a real humanitarian crisis concerning seafarers and crew repatriation. Owners and operators agree that people are at the center of shipping. Whether in reference to the vessel crews who are unable to disembark due to COVID-19 restrictions or businesses adjusting to new realities of distributed workforces, the human element in shipping plays a vital role in overcoming the challenges of emerging from a global pandemic. From a business health standpoint, within the tanker segment specifically, it is clear that there exists a lot of unknowns around what the future of the market holds in the face of the COVID-19 recovery. Kevin McKay, CEO of Teekay Tankers, commented on the fact that as oil demand reaches a record low there is limited visibility into how the built up onshore and offshore floating inventory will begin to whittle down. 

Embracing digitalization, transparency, and collaboration is a key component of achieving operational excellence

As part of Nautilus’s presentation, CEO Matt Heider spoke of transparency and accountability as the foundation for achieving operational excellence. This week’s virtual gathering of like-minded professionals and industry stakeholders demonstrated how much of a renewed focus exists on operational excellence especially today’s market realities. The industry is increasingly rallying behind the Poseidon Principles with financial institution representatives becoming active stewards and advocates for the need to reduce shipping’s environmental footprint. 

The dialogue ignited from the virtual conference pointed to the fact that the historical buy and hold strategy is no longer relevant and shipping businesses must prioritize vessel yield. Heightened attention to detail via data will guide the pursuit of operational excellence across all segments and vessel types. In a panel on the subject of ‘Digitalization & Technological (R)evolution”, Alexander Hadjipateras, Executive Vice President, Business Development – Dorian LPG, describes digitalization as an accelerator of the feedback loop from vessels that informs how proactive shipping businesses can be in addressing emerging trends in vessel operations. When asked what technology solutions owners should focus on to retrieve the greatest return on investment, Hadjipateras responded saying that he tries to pick systems aligned with pre-existing tools being used in order to drive synergy and get an exponentially greater benefit. It is this spirit of collaboration and partnership in the industry that echoed throughout the virtual halls of this year’s Capital Link forum.

A common thread among all forward thinking shipping businesses is a heightened focus on leveraging leading-edge software to promote transparency and accountability in the pursuit of operational excellence. Nautilus clients embrace these foundational elements necessary to achieve a competitive advantage in the market. This trend is magnified when considering the evolving relationships between different stakeholders—specifically, owners and charterers—and their ever-increasing desire to promote information symmetry and foster collaboration. 

Enhanced digitalization and adoption of new technologies will help shipping companies overcome these obstacles and transform their businesses, leading towards a more profitable and sustainable future. Nautilus is thankful to have had the opportunity to partake in this week’s virtual events. For any inquiries or questions please contact us.

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