Orange joins EU cloud-based Ship management ERP initiative

News Rene Millman Mar 14, 2014

Cloud could improve real-time business decisions as well as safety and crew welfare

Orange Business Services has joined an EU initiative to help develop a cloud-based ERP system to improve management tools used by the shipping industry.

One of the main tasks of the initiative, called EIS or Exzellenzinitiative Schiffsmanagement, is to help shipping companies take complex decisions on the basis of valid, up-to-date information across all ship management lifecycle processes.

This aim should not only make it easier to manage vessels, but also integrate them into a company’s corporate infrastructure improving real-time business decisions, enabling cost savings, and improving safety and crew welfare.

Orange Business Services will be the sole provider for ship-to-shore, vessel-based and land-based communication infrastructure. As part of this project, Orange will implement a cloud-based satellite solution on several vessels run by Columbia Ship Management, one of the four largest ship managers worldwide. The initiative includes the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the City of Hamburg in Germany.

The firm will provide the communication hardware of the vessels, the onshore data centre as well as the design and development of traffic optimisation tools. The integration of satellite communications with Business VPN, a fully managed IP-based VPN service, with private access to cloud services will enable Columbia Ship Management to benefit from a high-performance and security without relying on going through the internet.

“Communication at sea constitutes specific challenges and was historically a source of problems in terms of cost, performance and support," said Timothy Scheller, project manager at Columbia Ship Management.

"With this initiative, we want to build a remotely managed, integrated communication and application infrastructure onboard that intelligently connects the vessel to the office at the lowest possible cost. We are very proud to be a key driver of this project.

“With the new cloud-based platform in this project, we can demonstrate how improved communication between vessels and their management will streamline business tools and decisions,” said Michel Verbist, Head of International Business Development, Satellite at Orange Business Services. 

“Real-time ship-to-shore communication can provide a competitive advantage for both large and small shipping companies around the world. We look forward to providing innovative cloud solutions for other players in the maritime sector in the months to come.”

Along with Orange Business Services, the five subprojects of EIS will be implemented by partners such as DNV/GL Group, evidanza AG, Humance Maritime Services GmbH, MarDynamics and Portal Systems. The consortium of partners plans to establish joint sales activities and agreements in order to conduct joint research and development activities from Hamburg.