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Signal unveils vision for technology-driven future at 1000-attendee event in Athens

This article examines recent progress and initiatives by the shipping industry to meet new IMO targets and provides Signal Ocean Platform data on emissions developments and trends.

Press releases
February 28, 2024

Signal, the diversified shipping services group, reflected on recent milestones and offered a vision of a technology-driven future underpinning relationships and human decision-making by shipping professionals. 

Speaking at a 1000-attendee event at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens, Signal Group founder Ioannis Martinos said:

“We are delighted to be catching up on our progress with so many friends we have missed and that shipping has been enjoying better market conditions. Signal is four years in on a 20 year mission to bring useful applications of technology to shipping.” 

“Expectations and scrutiny on the industry will continue to escalate, commercial management will further consolidate, and execution speed will become ten times faster”, he added.

Constantinos Daskalakis, MIT Computer Science Professor and keynote speaker for the evening, provided insights into the role Artificial Intelligence (AI) could play across a range of sectors.

"AI, and computation in general, comes in various flavours, allowing us to solve different real-life and business problems. It is excellent to follow and support Signal’s endeavours to bring AI to shipping” Daskalakis said.

"Translation software and language models, in particular, have made remarkable progress.” he added and illustrated fascinating examples for the audience.

"AI, however, is prone to make mistakes and needs carefully considered human supervision” he concluded.

Attendees at the event had a chance to understand how Signal Maritime pursues sustainably leading performance thanks to the combination of a talented team and the powerful analytics provided by The Signal Ocean Platform.

Since its launch in 2018, Signal Ocean has continued evolving and now tracks more than 42,000 unique ships across all shipping segments and all global trades. In fact, Signal is currently working on bringing everything a professional needs to follow and trade shipping routes in a new series of topic-centric dashboards.

The platform continuously processes and combines streams of private and public data such as AIS, tonnage lists, cargo lists, vessel positions, port costs, port line-ups and freight rates.

Using advanced algorithms and AI, data is transformed into private and actionable insights on the freight market. Users can optimally match vessels to cargoes, run profitability comparisons, make CO2 estimates, and use Signal’s patented technology to forecast vessel movements and availability across the globe.

Meanwhile, Signal Ventures - the investment arm of the Signal Group - reported that the maritime technology market had grown 18% faster than anticipated pre-pandemic and was on track to reach USD 345bn by 2030. An estimated USD 3bn has been invested by venture capital since 2020. Signal Ventures has itself invested in 11 start-ups in the commodity, supply chain, operations and vessel management sectors. 3 of the portfolio companies have already completed follow-up funding rounds and are now worth an average of 5 times more.

The ecosystem currently includes technology startups active in ship bunkering, oil and dry bulk analytics, and marine weather.

Creating a sustainable world requires us to embark on a journey towards a zero emission future, where every step is a commitment to preserve our planet for future generations.
Albert Greenway
Environmental Scientist, Sustainability Expert
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Increased Use of Renewable Energy:

Shipping companies are embracing renewable energy sources to power onboard systems and reduce emissions during port operations. Solar panels and wind turbines are being installed on vessels to generate clean energy, reducing reliance on auxiliary engines, and cutting down emissions. Shore power facilities in ports allow ships to connect to the electrical grid, eliminating the need for onboard generators while docked.

Collaboration and Industry Partnerships:

Recognizing that addressing emissions requires collective action, shipping companies, governments, and organizations have formed partnerships and collaborations. These initiatives focus on research and development, sharing best practices, and promoting knowledge transfer. Joint projects aim to develop and deploy innovative technologies, improve infrastructure, and create a supportive regulatory framework to accelerate the industry's transition towards a greener future. The Zero Emission Shipping - Mission Innovation.

To pave the way for a greener future in shipping, the availability of alternative fuels plays a vital role in their widespread adoption. However, this availability is influenced by factors such as port infrastructure, local regulations, and government policies. As the demand for cleaner fuels in shipping rises and environmental regulations become more stringent, efforts are underway to improve the accessibility of these fuels through infrastructure development, collaborations, and investments in production facilities.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) infrastructure has seen significant growth in recent years, resulting in more LNG bunkering facilities and LNG-powered vessels. Nonetheless, the availability of LNG as a marine fuel can still vary depending on the region. To ensure consistent availability worldwide, there is a need for further development of LNG supply chains and infrastructure. For biofuels, their availability hinges on production capacity and the availability of feedstock. Although biofuels are being produced and utilized in various sectors, their availability as a marine fuel remains limited. Scaling up biofuel production and establishing robust supply chains are imperative to ensure wider availability within the shipping industry.Hydrogen, as a fuel for maritime applications, is still in the early stages of infrastructure development. While some hydrogen vessels have been tested or introduced in the first quarter of last year, the infrastructure required for hydrogen production and distribution needs further advancement.

Ammonia, as a marine fuel, currently faces limitations in availability. The production, storage, and handling infrastructure for ammonia need further development to support its widespread use in the shipping industry.Methanol, on the other hand, is already a commercially available fuel and has been used as a blend with conventional fuels in some ships. However, its availability as a standalone marine fuel can still be limited in certain regions. Bureau Veritas in October 2022 published a White Paper for the Alternative Fuels Outlook. This white paper provides a comprehensive overview of alternative fuels for the shipping industry, taking into account key factors such as technological maturity, availability, safety, emissions, and regulations.

Creating a sustainable world requires us to embark on a journey towards a zero emission future, where every step is a commitment to preserve our planet for future generations.
Albert Greenway
Environmental Scientist, Sustainability Expert

Increased Use of Renewable Energy:

Shipping companies are embracing renewable energy sources to power onboard systems and reduce emissions during port operations. Solar panels and wind turbines are being installed on vessels to generate clean energy, reducing reliance on auxiliary engines, and cutting down emissions. Shore power facilities in ports allow ships to connect to the electrical grid, eliminating the need for onboard generators while docked.

Collaboration and Industry Partnerships:

Recognizing that addressing emissions requires collective action, shipping companies, governments, and organizations have formed partnerships and collaborations. These initiatives focus on research and development, sharing best practices, and promoting knowledge transfer. Joint projects aim to develop and deploy innovative technologies, improve infrastructure, and create a supportive regulatory framework to accelerate the industry's transition towards a greener future. The Zero Emission Shipping - Mission Innovation.

To pave the way for a greener future in shipping, the availability of alternative fuels plays a vital role in their widespread adoption. However, this availability is influenced by factors such as port infrastructure, local regulations, and government policies. As the demand for cleaner fuels in shipping rises and environmental regulations become more stringent, efforts are underway to improve the accessibility of these fuels through infrastructure development, collaborations, and investments in production facilities.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) infrastructure has seen significant growth in recent years, resulting in more LNG bunkering facilities and LNG-powered vessels. Nonetheless, the availability of LNG as a marine fuel can still vary depending on the region. To ensure consistent availability worldwide, there is a need for further development of LNG supply chains and infrastructure. For biofuels, their availability hinges on production capacity and the availability of feedstock. Although biofuels are being produced and utilized in various sectors, their availability as a marine fuel remains limited. Scaling up biofuel production and establishing robust supply chains are imperative to ensure wider availability within the shipping industry.Hydrogen, as a fuel for maritime applications, is still in the early stages of infrastructure development. While some hydrogen vessels have been tested or introduced in the first quarter of last year, the infrastructure required for hydrogen production and distribution needs further advancement.

Ammonia, as a marine fuel, currently faces limitations in availability. The production, storage, and handling infrastructure for ammonia need further development to support its widespread use in the shipping industry.Methanol, on the other hand, is already a commercially available fuel and has been used as a blend with conventional fuels in some ships. However, its availability as a standalone marine fuel can still be limited in certain regions. Bureau Veritas in October 2022 published a White Paper for the Alternative Fuels Outlook. This white paper provides a comprehensive overview of alternative fuels for the shipping industry, taking into account key factors such as technological maturity, availability, safety, emissions, and regulations.

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