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MAROFF-2-Maritim virksomhet og offsh-2

Smart digital contracts and commercial management

Alternative title: Smarte digitale kontrakter og befraktning

Awarded: NOK 12.7 mill.

Project Manager:

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Project Period:

2018 - 2022


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The SmartDigital project aims at investigating how shipping contracts (e.g. charterparties) can be adapted to increase energy efficiency and function with optimized commercial management in a digital system of blockchain-based smart contracts. To achieve this overall objective, the project addresses three key research areas. Firstly, to identify contractual barriers to energy efficient ship operation, quantify the potential for improvement using maritime big data, and propose how charterparties can be adapted to allow for improved energy efficiency and digitalization of voyage management. Secondly, to identify inefficiencies in the chartering market using Automatic Identification System (AIS) data and spatial analysis, and develop optimization models and algorithms to exploit such inefficiencies within a fully digital framework for commercial management. Thirdly, to identify the barriers and risks in the implementation of smart digital contracts, their benefits in terms of improved communication and planning, more energy efficient ship operation and multi-stakeholders' involvement. With these elements in place, the research will outline the design for a dynamic system of efficient shipping environment. The project team consists of leading research groups within the areas of maritime economics, sustainable shipping and digital technology, SNF/NHH, UCL, MIT, Kedge Business School and University of Nantes. In addition we draw on the professional expertise and international reach of industry partners, BIMCO and Wikborg Rein. The results of SmartDigital will aid in the digital transformation of the maritime industry, promote greener maritime activities and explore the design of a commercial framework for autonomous vessels. We investigated the fuel management problem, the effect of waiting times in the bunkering port selection, and the potential GHG emissions impact from vessel speed reduction due to increasing operational efficiency at a maritime chokepoint such as a canal.

The project results in terms of publications and international presentations have contributed to building new knowledge and competencies at the partner institutions and in international maritime research as a whole. The co-operation on the development of concepts and models between academic and industry partners also contributes to a greater appreciation of a scientific systematic approach to solving commercial and strategic problems in the industry. The project results will aid the future internal development of digital tools that increase the efficiency of ship operations, particularly as it relates to the streamlining of chartering contract and commercial management. At the societal level, the implementation of improved models for the reduction of emissions from the maritime supply chain, as a result of increasing efficiency and the use of digital tools for the prediction of cargo flow, will impact the carbon footprint of the maritime industry positively.

The shipping industry is in need of the streamlining and digitalization of work processes related to commercial ship management and ship operation. The contractual framework must be adapted to encourage greener operation and the transformation to a connected digital system. The objective of SmartDigital is to build knowledge on how shipping contracts can be adapted to increase the energy efficiency of ship operations and allow for automated commercial management in a fully digital system of blockchain-based smart contracts. Implementing the results from the project will assist the Norwegian maritime industry in its quest to build a sustainable greener shipping industry, with reduced emissions, improved operational efficiency and enhanced competiveness - key areas in MAROFF and Norwegian maritime policy Led by the Center for Applied Research (SNF) at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), the four-year project draws together a multi-disciplinary consortium of leading international research institutions (MIT, UCL, Kedge Business School, University of Nantes) and industry partners (Bergen Shipowners Association, BIMCO and Wikborg Rein). Co-operation with the world's largest shipowning organization, BIMCO, is particularly valuable as it increases the probability of having international impact and broad dissemination of research results. It is also important for Norway to engage with leading experts on digitalization at top global universities such as MIT. SmartDigital is of strategic importance to the Norwegian maritime knowledge cluster as it builds national competency and knowledge in the key thematic areas of digital transformation, greener maritime activities, and autonomous commercial management and ship operation. Understanding the economic value proposition of digitalization, and removing current contractual barriers, is particularly important for the maritime industry in order to embrace this technological innovation.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

MAROFF-2-Maritim virksomhet og offsh-2