2020: A Bumper Year for the Maritime Industry
28 January 2021

2020: A Bumper Year for the Maritime Industry

28 January 2021

As a provider of maritime and nearshore connectivity, we were heartened to read this recent piece in The Economist, which discusses how and why the maritime industry had an exceptional 2020.

Despite a record-breaking 12% of the global container fleet (being) idled” in May, the “carnage wrought by the coronavirus has not been as bad as anticipated”.

Neptune seems to have smiled on shipping companies. Oil tankers and dry-bulk vessels that transport iron ore, coal and grain will turn a profit in 2020. Operators of ships ferrying containers, packed with consumer goods or components, are set fair for a banner year”.

Lars Jensen of consultancy SeaIntelligence predicts that the container industry was on course for record profits of $12bn-15bn in 2020.

The Economist attributes this to a few factors, Briefly:

  • Trade volumes did not shrink as much as expected during COVID
  • And, thankfully, the recovery has been faster
  • Excess capacity throughout the industry has been cut over the past decade with years of consolidation; “the top seven firms now claim three-quarters of the global fleet, up from 55% in 2016”.

Maritime Connectivity for the Merchant Navy

Telecom26 has been providing nearshore, offshore and IoT connectivity to the merchant navy for years including container ships, cruise liners, oil and gas tankers and general-purpose cargo ships.

Connectivity is a vital tool for vessels of all shapes and sizes enabling a wide variety of processes including dynamic routing, the use of IoT to monitor cargo - and keeping the crew engaged and entertained.

Our customer base spans across smaller boutique maritime systems integrators to one of the largest global manufacturers of maritime and industrial electronic products. We provide the equipment, expertise and cellular connectivity that vessels need to stay online.

Read here about why we firmly believe that vessels of all shapes and sizes should be able to have their own mobile private networks (MPN) on-board in the same way businesses on land have private terrestrial networks over fibre, wireless or satellite on their business premises.

However, there are a couple of major blockages to the rollout of MPNs across the maritime sector for vessels that are 12 nautical miles offshore (2 nautical miles for the EU): the current international roaming standards, regulations - and pricing.

Most importantly, operators are, of course, reluctant to turn off their roaming charges cash cow.

In the meantime, Telecom26 will continue to provide maritime connectivity using cellular networks wherever possible, complemented by satellite.

Telecom26 At Sea - helping the maritime industry by providing the most cost-effective means of maritime connectivity often using IoT connectivity

Satellite has traditionally been the connectivity tool of choice for the shipping industry. Expensive but always-on.

However, the major problem with the cellular at sea approach is that multiple SIMs have been required to ensure coverage throughout the cruise.  As the ship crosses borders, so the network operators will change.

With the specific goal of improving connectivity at sea, Telecom26 has a multi-pronged approach:

  1. Multi-IMSI global SIM cards which enable Global Roaming.

These enable one SIM to access multiple networks both in-country and across borders thus removing the need to worry about the coverage of a single MNO, or the existence of roaming alliances. Multiple-IMSI profiles are pre-loaded onto every SIM allowing for simple reconfiguration if the primary network has poor or no service.

Our Multi-IMSI global SIMs automatically select the best performing network in the area, cross-border, while providing users with the freedom to change SIM profiles and services with ease.

When a vessel is travelling along the coast or anchored at port, the SIMs would use the best available cellular network and switch to satellite only when absolutely necessary.

  1. A multi-SIM & multi-IMSI router enables ship-wide Wi-Fi on which crew can use their personal and business devices. No more bill shock for any of them when they return home.

The Telecom26 offering can combine both a full mobile private network at sea as well as a nearshore offering in order to provide contiguous mobile coverage at the lowest cost available.

To learn more about Telecom26’s suite of maritime connectivity and nearshore connectivity services please click here.

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