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Paper thin future: transforming logbooks with digital innovation

Portrait of Amitabh Sankranti
Amitab Sankranti, Managing Director NAVTOR India

In a digitally-enabled, connected and smarter-than-ever shipping industry there’s one unwelcome outlier – the logbook. Amitabh Sankranti, Managing Director, NAVTOR India, argues that it’s time to put the books back on the shelf and power up the huge potential of digital technology, transforming tiring admin into business benefits.

Someone from outside the shipping industry probably wouldn’t believe you.

There’s no way, they’d comment, that you have officers on multi, multi-million-dollar vessels, providing critical global services, that have to take time out of busy operational days to manually fill-in countless entries keeping track of everything from ballast water operations, to cargo loads, to garbage handling… with a pen, not even on a computer!

“Pull the other one,” they’d rightly laugh.

And who could blame them?

Thankfully, as you may have guessed by now, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Monitor displaying Digital Logbooks from NAVTOR
Error-free data, verifiable entries, and transparency for the entire organisation.

Slaying the beast

Here at NAVTOR, we’ve integrated digital logbooks into our innovative e-Navigation and performance product portfolio.

This means that, now, instead of vessel crew members making manual entries – some of which, understandably given competing responsibilities, may be prone to error – we can offer a digital solution that unifies all logbooks on one, standardised system.

So, what does this mean for an average ship?

Well, firstly it leads to the slaying of a big administrative beast. Through digitised vessel systems much of the necessary data can be captured automatically, while other manually inputted information can be shared across a modular system of logbooks tailored to the exact needs of individual ships.

The result isn’t just a standardised approach, but standardised quality – with timely, error-free data delivering a key, transparent and verifiable way of proving compliance with regulations and charter covenants.

Big data benefit

And, of course, anyone that’s tried to do big data capture and analysis of existing logbooks will have… well, probably given up. Sifting through multiple volumes of scrawled handwriting (the sea has a tendency to move around a little), across entire fleets of vessels, to try and decipher valuable takeaways is a near impossibility.

However, going digital transforms the task.

With digital logbooks, you open up the possibility to instantly share data with onshore organisations for complete vessel and fleet awareness. Detailed analytics are also made simple, delivering insights into trends and performance for improved decision making.

An incredibly rich data source suddenly springs to life, offering the ability to maximise understanding and efficiency, while minimising mistakes, costs and resource use.

It’s nothing short of transformational.

Get smart

At NAVTOR, we’ve travelled this road before, helping lead the transition from paper charts to ENCs (in line with the IMO ECDIS Mandate) and pioneering the huge potential of e-Navigation and smart shipping solutions. We know that once you see the compelling benefits of a new way of doing things it becomes accepted behaviour (just think of how consumers have accepted smart digital technology into their everyday lives).

Digital logbooks will be no different. There is no mandate to make the change as yet, but there most probably will be in future years. It therefore falls to the individual owner/s to adopt early; seizing an opportunity to make a head start, gain a competitive advantage and lead the industry on an inevitable change.

That’s certainly what NAVTOR intends to do… and we’d like you to voyage with us.

Read more about the Digital logbooks.


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