Digital transformation of the maritime and port sector

  • 22/11/2022
  • 11 minutes

Digital transformation has caused high impact changes in companies of all sizes and of different economic sectors. This would not be different in the maritime and port sector.

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Currently, the segment is undergoing a severe disruption triggered by global trends of sustainability, efficiency and digitalization.

In this article, you will understand how the digitalization scenario of the sector works and its benefits for the whole global logistic chain. Good reading!

What is digital transformation about?

Digital transformation is a process where a company stimulates change of corporate mentality, with the purpose of following up technological breakthroughs in the market where it operates. The term is also widely used in the corporate world as a synonym for innovation, as it is directly related to digitalization of services, processes and products.

Digital transformation pillars are based on four fundamental aspects:

  • Focus on the client: to guide the work of the entire company, teams work from the experience of the client to the product or service, and not the other way around. By means of constant feedback from the public, it is also possible to optimize final delivery;
  • Agility and adaptability: make processes more agile, automated and flexible is one of the methods to advance in the transition towards the digital age. Thus, companies need to be resilient and have the capacity to adapt themselves to the moment. Agile management and empowerment of collaborators are preponderant points in this aspect;
  • Data: from Big Data (data with an increased variety reaching growing volumes at faster speeds) it is possible to generate innovation in an assertive manner. The big challenge is to gather, manager and convert data into information relevant for the business;
  • Generation of value: as the world is constantly changing, companies must stay aware of every single movement of the market. New demands are created every day, and by means of innovation, it is possible to enjoy opportunities and generate value for clients at the right moment.

Those points are fundamental to make digital transformation a reality. Those points are also the ones in charge of feeding the process in order to provide a constant evolution in this journey.

In the maritime and port sector, it is already possible to observe this movement. Around the globe, more and more companies are incorporating the rational and systematic use of new technologies to offer their clients only the best. Check out below the main advantages and benefits this market has amidst the digital transformation.

What are the advantages of maritime and port digitalization?

Digitalization is a global and logistic trend. The corporate market has sought partners capable of meeting demands of their clients in more efficient, quicker and dynamic manner. The following are the three advantages from the use of technology in the transformation of the sector:

  1. Agile and accurate communication in the relationship with the client

Precision, production and visibility are the trending words. Demand for commutation, traceability and predictability is increasing, both on the side of regulatory requirements and on the side of consumers.

CRM (Client Relationship Management) driven systems aid in narrowing the relationship with the public by providing a customized service based on the journey of each consumer.

  1. Systemic integration of production chains

Global competition, speed and complexity of the sector demand an operational performance and visibility in the whole supply chain. Thus, integrating systems and having access to specific information, which go beyond the traditional notions of visibility, is even more strategic in present days.

All of it makes possible to follow up, more accurately, all steps of an operation. But benefits are vast, and this systemic vision is what allows managers to see the real and updated picture of what is happening.

  1. More efficiency in operations

Upon implementing a technological solution, it is crucial to standardize processes in order to increase precision and ensure information is uniformly fed to the system, which makes the whole difference when performing analyses. Then, work methods and decision making processes carried out on a daily basis become more efficient and faster.

Automation of processes also causes work routines to be aligned, fostering more agility and increased productivity, as they catalyze the team’s speed and delivery capacity.

These are some of the competitive advantages companies taking the initiative of embracing digital transformation tend to observe following the implementation of digitalization processes.

The maritime and port market, in special, offers even more opportunities. As a whole, the region of Latin America and Carbie totalize 118 port zones, out of which 36 are located in Brazil. According to data from the Statistic Report from the National Agency for Waterway Transportation (ANTAQ), the sector achieved a cargo handling record in 2021, with a total of 1.21 billion tons transported. This number represents a worth of 4.8% against 2020.

The report also includes port movement expectations for the upcoming years. The expected growth for 2022, for example, is of 2.4%, and may exceed 1.4 billion tons in 2026.

Therefore, Wilson Sons adopted innovation as a strategic agenda and become one of the leading companies in open innovation, according to Ranking 100 Open Startups. Also, since 2019, it has been the administrator of Cubo Itaú, the most relevant hub of innovation and technological entrepreneurship in Latin America.

Observing the behavior of the market, it was suggested the creation of a specific hub for the maritime and port sector. The joint effort of major companies such as Cubo Itaú, Porto do Açu, Hidrovias do Brasil and Radix resulted in the creation of Cubo Maritime & Port: the first sectorial hub in the region.

Launch of innovation hub in the maritime sector

July 12th marked the inauguration of Cubo Maritime & Port in São Paulo. This innovative initiative in Latin America is intended to provide integration between the several ends of the ecosystem to speed up innovation in the waterway sector, in addition to provide opening for the arrival of international shiptechs (sectorial technology companies) to work and share their experiences with Brazil.

At the occasion, Eduardo Valença, director of digital transformation at Wilson Sons, stated: “Wilson Sons has a solid relationship with several startups for the purposes of developing experience and technology required to contribute towards sustainable development”.

Currently, the hub already has the participation of 15 startups, whether by means of contracts, POCs (Proof of Concept), partnerships or investments, with the purpose of developing solutions to expand the operational efficiency of the sector.

“Over more than 180 years of history, Wilson Sons has always anticipated itself to changes, creating solutions that contributed to the development of the Country. We assess technologies capable of improving our operations and creating new digital service offers, while reducing business risks. Based on that assessment, we establish guidelines to ensure innovation supports balance between short-term results and future sustainable generation of value”, says Fernando Salek, CEO of Wilson Sons.