Why maritime data standardisation is so important

In this article, RightShip CEO Steen Lund discusses the importance of data standardisation and explains why this was imperative in the expansion of our Vetting Criteria 

Standardisation has been a maritime industry ‘buzz’ word in recent years, but it’s so much more than a word. In the context of our sector, standardisation requires the harnessing of digital technologies to transform large data sets into insights that give our supply chain access to efficiencies and support best practice decision-making.  

As we worked through the Vetting Criteria review process, we explored standardisation that would lead to significant productivity efficiencies within RightShip. Prior to the expansion of the criteria, we saw a large number of bespoke requirements applied to some vets and determined the industry would benefit from turning the consistent bespoke demands into standard vetting data points.  


The demand for standardisation is strong 

Market feedback indicated that both charterers and ship owners wanted a standardised approach that would help them meet industry goals.  

Our existing 20 data points had become inadequate. We reviewed the trends coming out of these bespoke applications by charterers and sought to apply them broadly, lifting our criteria from 20 considerations to 50 vetting criteria. With more considerations to apply, we assisted via dialogue many chartering customers to do away with bespoke rules. On the more extreme scale a charterer managed to reduce 65 bespoke requirements, using the new criteria, to just a handful. Such a process simplification has led to a far more focused approach to risk management across all industry players, whether charterers, owners or RightShip.    

Removing grey areas is beneficial for the ship owner, too. Previously, the volume of bespoke requirements meant the owner didn’t always understand what to anticipate. With a reduced list of bespoke expectations, they can be better prepared for vets and fit their vessel accordingly. This takes the guess work out of specific charterer expectations. 

Standardisation leads to increased clarity. We saw this during our assessment of crew welfare, with wellbeing expectations often being left open to interpretation. Therefore, we set clear criteria for living standards, seafarers’ rights, abandonment of seafarers and adoption of the Maritime Labour Convention. While the vetting criteria has a fair coverage of crew wellbeing, this is an area RightShip and its industry ship management and ship owning partners have taken further initiatives within to incentivise care for the seafarers. Additional services will be implemented in the autumn where the parties, who demonstrate via assessments and data their seafarer wellbeing competence will be celebrated.       


A collective approach to standardisation  

While IMO and regulatory bodies play an important role in our move towards standardisation, the real impact can be seen in all members of the supply chain coming together and agreeing on precisely what the standard is so that it can be used in practice.  

We believe the standardisation of our Vetting Criteria, and the response we’ve had to it, is a good starting point, but there is more to be done as a collective, particularly as technology accelerates towards efficiencies that are placing the best practice benchmark higher and higher. For example, we have begun to apply artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help us sequence the data points that are required to perform a vet, that way reducing the need manual intervention. With the increase in the vetting baseline to 50 criteria, it was natural for RightShip to turn to AI to help us bring the right data forward to the vetting superintendent when needed to perform the vet.   

Presently, we are exploring partnerships that enable us to expand our capacity to build on the standardisation of products and services within our Platform. With several strategic initiatives already in motion, we are building on our core business while simultaneously seeking new and innovative opportunities.  

We understand that we can’t achieve robust standardisation alone and invite increased unification and acceptance of standards in maritime operations as we move towards an increasingly digital and partner driven future.  


Click to download RightShip's Standard Vessel Vetting Criteria for Dry Bulk and Petroleum, Gas and Chemical Vessels