MarineTraffic Hamburg seminar highlights movement towards greater port-call optimisation

Last week saw 50,000 visitors from around the world descend on Hamburg, Germany, for SMM, a huge maritime tradeshow featuring 2,289 exhibitors. Ship and repair yards, equipment and engine manufacturers, lubricants, coatings and much more were on show.

On the sidelines of SMM, a team from MarineTraffic visited Hamburg to hold a seminar at the German Shipowners Association. Speaking was Head of Data, Stellios Stratidakis, who discussed the benefits of data-driven optimisation opportunities.

Stellios opened by discussing the values of expertise, transparency, connection and trust, which embody the MarineTraffic identity. He then went on to describe how the right data applied to a suitable platform can create intelligent tools for achieving a diverse range of tasks.

Rapid technological development in the past decade has vastly enhanced how data can be harnessed to support decision making. Stellios showcased some of the upcoming examples of this from MarineTraffic, first, through the upgraded, MarineTraffic Voyage Planner. Next he presented new weather routing software, soon to be launched in partnership with NAPA.

The conversation then turned to how data could positively impact port calls. Given the location of the seminar, data from the Port of Hamburg seemed the appropriate choice. Stellios chose first to describe how the MarineTraffic platform could assist in offering end-to-end port visibility, which in turn, would allow for greater port call optimisation. These improved efficiencies would subsequently benefit the wider industry goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% through 2050.

Stellios concluded the seminar by detailing the MarineTraffic seven-point action plan, to:

Contribute to research initiatives and projects

Facilitate standards adoption & dissemination

Bridge technological gaps using AIS

Support universal visibility

Create value-added datasets

Innovate with intent

Connect the industry


MarineTraffic Hamburg seminar maximise efficiency


The session was followed by a Q&A. There were two questions of note. The first focused on the value large operators place on their data and questioned what benefits there were for them to share this data for free. Stellios answered by asserting that working in close collaboration with all stakeholders is a necessary step to reach efficient operations. He said that standardisation and digitalisation are “just two parts of the equation.” He said that interoperable systems and collaboration among stakeholders should become the norm, and this would be the call for information owners to share data further. Stellios concluded by stating that if these optimisation processes were to be performed correctly, there would be productivity gains for all those involved and these gains would scale accordingly.

The second question of note was concerned with how a lack of efficiency can often be what motivates enterprise in the shipping industry. The audience member was interested in understanding how this attitude might conflict with that of the green approach to shipping. Stellios argued that environmental compliance should be considered as part of the solution. Engine load and fuel consumption are correlated and affect emissions. Better planning and voyage execution together with efficient port traffic management would positively contribute to reducing both operational costs and safety/environmental risks.

After the conclusion of the Q&A, the audience was invited to enjoy some light refreshments at the back of the room, those who chose to stay engaged in some informal networking, discussing the seminar between themselves. The key takeaway being, that as the industry becomes more digitally capable and environmentally aware, the importance of optimisation opportunities, such as those offered by MarineTraffic, are likely to become increasingly important.

Stellios’ seminar was the first in a series of informative events to be held globally by MarineTraffic over the next 12 months aimed at helping the industry better understand how the business can support the vast and diverse maritime professions better achieve their business goals.

About SMM

Held biennially in Hamburg, SMM is one of the maritime industry’s largest events, bringing 50,000 industry professionals together from more than 120 countries to 13 exhibition halls covering approximately 100,000 m2 with 2,289 exhibitors. In 2018, top of the agenda was digitalisation and green shipping.

Bill Lines
Bill is a director of London based maritime public relations firm Navigate PR and has been working with MarineTraffic since 2013.