Importance of Sharing of Critical Information in Real-Time

“Everyone benefits from collaboration and data sharing. It starts with the customers and moves to the carriers, then the terminal operators, vendors, freight systems, truck companies, and keeps going down the line. Closer collaboration is a compelling value proposition for each supply chain partner,” says Andreas Mrozek, Global Head Marine & Terminal Operations for the Hamburg Süd Group. Poor communication in a business enterprise only invites troubles. It leads to wrong assumptions and defective data and affects the process of critical decision making. Thus, communication and collaboration are vital to the development of an organization. And of course, sharing of critical information in real time has advantages such as:

Allows Better Coordination

Authentic and meaningful information exchange in the maritime industry makes it easy to coordinate among various departments. A system including features like Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center, the Maritime Safety and Security Information System, the Long- Range Identification and Tracking, and the Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery would allow a better coordination in situations where one has to plan a transit through a narrow region or to ward off a piracy attack.

Prevents Maritime Accidents

An efficient information exchange system enables better cooperation and functioning in a ship. This saves a lot of time and helps a ship in trouble to reach its destination soon. Simple case in point being the sharing of information about near miss incidents with the ship’s crew and across fleets, allows for better responsiveness and preventive safety measures. Enhances Customer Service Delay in quality service including instant information regarding the availability of port- related can adversely affect customers. Critical information sharing in the port among departments enhances collaboration, which in turn leads to happy customers. Other than the aforementioned merits, critical information exchange reduces cost, enhances resource efficiency, and cuts delivery times.

A recent industry survey and report has thrown light on ineffective data sharing and poor cross-industry collaboration in the maritime industry. It has also been learned that importers, exporters, ship owners, and other stakeholders face issues such as poor visibility and predictability around shipments. An absence of partner synchronization and insufficient data insight adds to their problems.

Case Study:

Effective communication between team members ensures that every command or response is for the team’s greater purpose. A lack of such a communication leads to accidents similar to the one that occurred in 2003 at Port of Dover, England. On April 18, 2003, ro-ro passenger ferry, Pride of Provence, made heavy contact with the southern breakwater at the eastern entrance to the Dover Harbour. Passengers and crew were injured and the ferry was extensively damaged.

It so happened that the ferry’s master wanted to turn the vessel as it passed through the breakwaters so that it could run down the inside of the eastern arm before swinging and securing stern-to on No 2 ro-ro berth. As the vessel approached the entrance, its heading was such that while turning its stern collided with the end of the southern breakwater. The impact caused furniture and fittings to overturn, and threw some passengers and crew to the deck. Upon investigation, it was found that besides poor passage planning and disorientation of the master, poor communication played a major role in the accident. The master did not give clear instructions and information to his key team members to monitor the approach. The master’s briefing, which is a key element in the efficient operation of the bridge team, was not appropriate in many respects.

1. The chief officer who had to monitor the vessel’s track during the approach was unaware of the master's planned approach track. He only knew that the master wanted the vessel to go through the middle of the entrance. That information was not sufficient to use parallel indexing or target trails to monitor the approach. Moreover, without knowing the precise intention of the master, he could not assess whether helm or engine orders were accurate.

2. The quartermaster who had to lookout on the port bridge wing was not given specific instructions about his role. He was only told that a clearance of at least 100 feet (30m) was needed from the breakwater. He was not told that the vessel would be swinging as she passed through the entrance or that he should have to monitor the helm position and predict the effect on the stern.

There are various reasons that lead to sharing of wrong information in an organization. Many a time, the departments in an organization operate in siloes and are hesitant to share critical information. Other reasons for miscommunication include poor interpretation skills, unreliable data, lack of understanding among team members, and unclear instructions.

Citation for case study:


More Articles