Earlier this year, shipping company Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) partnered with early stage investor and accelerator Techstars to launch the world’s first dedicated maritime accelerator.
The startup accelerator aims to bring digital, technology-led solutions to problems faced by one of the oldest trades around – the shipping and maritime industry.
From November 2019, the nine startups from Singapore, Denmark, the UK and the USA will go through an intensive three-month program of research and development, mentorship, and collaboration at EPS’ headquarters in Singapore. The startups in question are C-Log, CyberOwl, Enermo Technology, F-Drones, Nautilus Labs, QuantShip, Saara Inc, SeaMiles and Volteo Maritime.
As explained, the class of startups was selected with consideration and input from EPS’ Operations, Marine Technical, Commercial, IT, Fleet Personnel, and Management teams which would work closely with each startup to test their technologies and accelerate their businesses.
“We see a need for technology to propel the maritime industry forward, especially with a rapidly digitalising society and an increase in global trade. That means the shipping industry needs to innovate to solve problems such as fuel consumption, operational efficiency, fleet performance, and improving life-at-sea for seafarers – and we are doing just that with the Eastern Pacific Accelerator powered by Techstars,” Gil Ofer, the Head of Open Innovation at Eastern Pacific Shipping, said.
“For these pioneering startups, EPS can provide access to a deep network of industry players, real-world data, and operational insights from our experienced maritime experts that will accelerate the development of their products.”
The world’s shipping and maritime sector continues to grow, accounting for around 90 percent of all goods moved globally, spanning over 50,000 vessels and over a million seafarers, according to the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The United Nations Conference of Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD), meanwhile, estimates that volumes of global seaborne trade will grow by 3.8 percent between 2018 and 2023. However, the industry faces a number of critical issues – with innovation proving crucial to sustaining its competitiveness and growth.
“The shipping industry is continually evolving, but change comes slowly and in incremental stages. However, issues such as sustainability, reducing emissions, and seafarer’s mental and physical wellbeing can no longer take a wait-and-see approach. The goal is to address these issues today through the accelerator and to inspire the industry to take a technology-first approach to solving problems,” Claus Nehmzow, Chief Innovation Officer at EPS, commented.
“We hope to be able to spark a renaissance in how maritime trade is conducted and to usher in a wave of next-generation tech for the shipping industry,” he added.
During the intensive three-month program, the startups will receive hands-on mentorship from industry experts, access to EPS’ operational data, and the opportunity to deploy their technology on EPS’ diverse fleet of over 150 vessels. The program will also provide the founders with access to Techstars’ network of mentors, investors and partners. In February 2020, the accelerator will culminate in a demo day where the founders will pitch to an audience of top investors, multinationals, government partners and other ecosystem players.