Maritime 4.0: Practices, challenges and opportunities

Blog of the week by Kaiko Systems


With real-time data transmission becoming possible, Industry 4.0 can now bring advances in data management, device communication, and digitalization for smart manufacturing.

As an essential part of the global supply chain, Maritime 4.0 drives the development of a smart and digitally-enabled maritime Industry.

What is Maritime 4.0?

Maritime 4.0 is the convergence of Industry 4.0 and the maritime industry. The purpose of Maritime 4.0 includes but is not limited to improving the lifecycle of vessels, facilitating the delivery of greater performance, lowering ownership cost and increasing safety and reliability.

There are various definitions of Maritime 4.0.  Here are some of the most common characteristics suggested by industry practitioners and academics:

  • Data: Automated integration of data into decision making
  • Connected: Implementation of connected technologies for design, production, and operation
  • Sustainable: Decreased shipping environmental impact related to production, operation and disposal
  • Operation: Affordable and sustainable operation
  • Safety: Reduction of risk, increasing safety and security

The Roadmap of Maritime 4.0

The Industry 4.0 Maturity Index contains four levels of maturity: Transparency → Visibility → Predictability → Adaptability

It is important to note that in this framework, every stage builds on the solid foundation established in the previous stage, and all four stages should be followed in sequence for maximum benefits.

To keep up with the four phases of Industry 4.0, there are some immediate issues the maritime industry needs to address: Visibility of historical and real-time information, standardization in the data specification and format. Hence, there are two phases the maritime industry needs to tackle to have smart capabilities:

  • Phase 1: Gain quick wins by data standardization, visualization, and streamlining processes
  • Phase 2: Achieve smart capabilities by leveraging a single source of truth

Challenges and Opportunities of Maritime 4.0

According to research done by Thetius and Inmarsat Maritime, Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation by 3 years, and the global maritime digital products and services market will grow to $159 bn this year. This also leads to an increase of 85% deal flow of investments in digital technologies in 2021. Here are some challenges and opportunities on the road to Maritime 4.0:


The Maritime Safety Market is projected to reach USD 35.73 billion by 2027. While predictive maintenance has been a trendy topic for several years, the challenges of data inaccuracy and expensive sensor installation remain to be addressed. A proposed principle to approach this problem is to think big, start small, and move fast. Instead of installing sensors and accumulating massive amount of data before having solid algorithms, Kaiko Systems starts by digitizing the current inspection processes. This not only ensures the reliability of data without extra cost, but also helps to uncover trends that would not be visible for human experts.

Crew sentiment analysis

The prolonged Covid-19 situation has presented unprecedented challenges to seafarers who have been battling on the frontline. Though the average happiness index has returned to the same position at the end of Q3 2021 as it was at the end of Q3 2019, a growing number of seafarers are quitting after becoming disenchanted with life at sea during the pandemic. The resignation rate of seafarers increased from 2% to over 15% in some companies. It is more urgent than ever to address to crew’s feelings and welfare.

Data Management

The challenges of data management in the maritime industry has always been having inaccurate and delayed information among different stakeholders. Whether it is for Maritime 4.0 or simply to keep up with digitalization, data management is a key factor that the maritime industry needs to address. According to research, the global maritime analytics market was valued at USD 894.28 million in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 1.833.50 million by 2027.


The maritime industry contributes to 3% of total carbon emissions of the world. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is urging the shipping industry to cut carbon intensity 40% by 2030 and 50% by 2050 (against a 2008 baseline) through energy efficiency improvements, new technology and low or zero-carbon fuel.


    The vision of Maritime 4.0 is to have increased automation, predictive maintenance, self-optimizable process, and, above all, a new level of efficiency.

    Covid has been driving the maritime industry to adopt digital transformation at a faster rate, and this trend is irreversible. Data standardization will be a key point that all aspects of maritime need to address in order to realize the vision of Maritime 4.0

    MARPRO’s blog of the week is by Fabian Fussek, co-founder & CEO at Kaiko Systems.

    About Kaiko Systems:

    Kaiko Systems turns maritime operations into verified and standardized data to bring safety, efficiency, and quality improvements to the oceans.

    Follow them on Linkedin to stay up to date on best practices in maritime operations! Or, explore the product here:

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