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Thursday, January 17, 2019 

Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), one of Japanís largest shipping companies, is to increase the roll-out of Inmarsatís Fleet Xpress Service, across the remainder of its owned and managed fleet.

According to Inmarsat, this underlines the confidence placed in its high-speed service by major shipping lines and reinforces the scope of the digital transformation sweeping the industry.

MOL was among the earliest adopters of Fleet Xpress; deploying Inmarsat’s global high-speed broadband connectivity on the majority of its PCTCs in 2016, shortly after the launch of the next-generation service.  Currently it has over 100 vessels installed. MOL will now install Fleet Xpress across its managed and owned fleet of Bulk carriers, Tankers, Pure Car Carriers, and LNG carriers.

The fleet-wide commitment aligns with MOL’s plans to scale up its digital activities. Theoperator sees the Internet of Things (IoT), in combination with advanced data analytics, as offering huge potential for improvements in safety, efficiency and environmental impact, driven by guaranteed, continuous connectivity on board its ships.

“There is no doubt MOL believes that digital technology can have a profound impact on vessel operations and its broader business objectives. Fleet Xpress lays the foundation for the successful realisation of its smart-shipping ambitions by bringing together greater bandwidth and high resilience in a seamless, fully-managed service.” said Ronald Spithout (pictured), President, Inmarsat Maritime.

The types of project that will be enabled through satellite communication connectivity include MOL’s partnership with Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding and Weathernews on the Fleet Optimal Control Unified System (FOCUS) platform. In its initial stages, FOCUS will see detailed voyage and engine data gathered from 150 vessels and stored in the cloud, where it will be available to build sophisticated analysis tools for improving operational efficiency and propulsion performance.

MOL says it has adopted VSAT from an early stage for email communication and sharing of images between ship to shore, and now for monitoring equipment. New engine health monitoring and fault diagnostics, ’digital twins’ that streamline vessel maintenance management, augmented reality and other remote visualisation techniques that enrich ship/shore interactions are among a range of other ideas under consideration.

“Reliable connectivity between ship and shore is critical for these tools to work to maximum effect,” added Spithout. “Fleet Xpress meets the requirement through its unique, fully integrated dual capability of high-speed, high-capacity link on Ka-band together with high reliability back-up services on L-band.”

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