The shipping sector has a global and extremely important role as close to 90% of world trade is transported by ships. This includes essential materials such as food, fuel, and medical supplies. However, it is also a relatively small sector. There are only around 100 000 ships greater than 100 gross tonnes in international trade, compared to around 1.3 billion cars worldwide. The total value of the 50 000 largest ships is less than half the stock market value of Apple!
While developments in intelligent transport systems (ITS) have been moving fast for the car industry in the last 10 years, shipping was a strong and early starter in smart onboard systems from the 1980s but has lagged steadily behind after that. The result is now that shipping experiences a rapidly increasing digital divide towards land-based transport. With an ever-stronger demand for energy reduction, sustainable operation, more resilience in supply chains, there is also a need to close this gap. This is in particular related to seamless integration between ship systems, ports, and hinterland transport, what we could call "maritime connected ITS."
However, as the maritime sector is relatively small, we cannot rely on emerging solutions appearing in the market by themselves. There are too many differences between the IT systems on individual ships and ports to deploy new and innovative integration solutions easily. This applies to the software systems as well as to the protocols for integration between systems.
ISTS aims to allow several competitors and collaborate on the pre-competitive aspects of an international maritime ITS ecosystem. The project will integrate ongoing standards development with the development of a new integrating maritime ITS architecture. Included in this is advanced research on the cost-benefit issues of standards and user requirements related to such an architecture. The work will be coordinated with similar initiatives worldwide.
The ISTS vision is the establishment of an international ITS architecture for the maritime sector to contribute to an interoperable and user-oriented maritime ICT ecosystem. When the Norwegian industry and authorities develop new digital services and systems, they can be deployed without hindrance in the worldwide market.
By establishing an enabling architecture for maritime digitalisation, this project will also address the three following thematic priorities in the MAROFFs program plan:
• Safety and security at sea through increased digitalization and e-navigation
• Opportunities in ocean industries through a level playing field and reduced cost-base
• Autonomous and remote-controlled vessels using digital standards for cost-effective and sustainable implementation
ISTS is a cooperative and pre-competitive project to leverage industrial domain knowledge in the specifically selected domains and leading scientific and technical expertise on user requirements, ICT systems, and architectures. To realize the ISTS vision, close cooperation among many partners is imperative. Authorities will be central as they have been the main driving actors in standardisation so far. Equipment suppliers, class societies, and ports are users and developers that also need to be involved. Therefore, the project will facilitate close cooperation between all essential commercial maritime actors and R&D partners, and regulatory bodies, both nationally and internationally.
The project is organized into six work packages; user orientation, architecture, standards development, international coordination, evaluation and verification, and project management. The project consortium consists of 14 partners and includes R&D, the maritime industry, service providers, and relevant authorities.