Global Shipping – One of the Last ‘Wild West’ Frontiers

WindwardShipping activity across the world’s oceans is the lifeblood of the global economy, transporting billions of tons of goods annually and facilitating global commodity flows of oil, coal, grains and metals. Vessel activity is also of critical importance to Intelligence and Security agencies worldwide, as criminal and terrorist activity has become increasingly global and borderless.

And yet, the oceans remain one of the last ‘wild west’ frontiers, with limited visibility on what ships are actually doing once they leave port. AIS data, the most widely used data on ship activity worldwide, underlies decisions from Finance to Intelligence, but the data is unreliable and increasingly manipulated by the very ships it seeks to track.

And this trend is growing, fast, with little-understood and far-reaching implications worldwide.

AIS data, used routinely by decision makers across industries, is widely perceived as a reliable source of information on ship activity worldwide. Massive financial investments and critical operational decisions are based on this data.

New research from Windward reveals that AIS data has critical vulnerabilities when used to track ships, an ‘off label’ use of the system. The data is increasingly manipulated by ships that seek to conceal their identity, location or destination for economic gain or to sail under the security radar.

Manipulation practices are varied, according to Windward’s research, and range from Identity Fraud, to Obscuring Destinations, ‘Going Dark,’ Manipulating GPS, and ‘Spoofing’ AIS. Ships that manipulate AIS undermine not only their own data, but the entire maritime global picture — once some of the data is corrupt, all data is suspect.

If this kind of manipulation is occurring on ships, consider the impact of ‘cargoes/substances’ on board ‘ghost ships’. You can find the Windward Research paper “Analysis of the Magnitude and Implications of Growing Data Manipulation at Sea” as well as a poignant infographic on their website, by clicking the hyperlinks. Source: Windward.eu

Related article

Chinese ports show potential ….. and Durban too

2012 World's Container Ports With Most Potential (Mercator)

2012 World’s Container Ports With Most Potential (Mercator)

According to the Shanghai International Shipping Institute’s (SISI) ‘Global Port Development Report 2012’, rapid growth in throughput has been pushing Chinese ports up the global ranking in terms of development potential.

The report also revealed that throughput in China’s ports was stable, with a growth rate of around 3% to 10%, affected by the worsening economic environment, growth in international shipping and a decrease in trade volume.

But, with global economic, trade and shipping centres moving eastward, some small and medium sized ports have recorded double digit growth (over 20% in some cases). As a result, Chinese ports, including Hong Kong, have taken up five positions among SISI’s Top 10 2012 World’s Most Potential Container Ports, nine positions among the Top 20 global container ports and 13 positions among the Top 20 global ports in terms of cargo throughput.

The report says that European ports are likely to see a return in stability, with a limited growth of less than 3%, while American and African ports may see some growth in throughput following the slow recovery of international trade volume and stronger cargo handling capacity.

Upgrades and Downgrades

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The global shortage of intermodal shipping containers is making the companies that lease them rich. In a year that will probably go down as the worst in shipping history, a small group of companies is making a fortune. These are the companies that buy and then lease to major shipping lines the humble “box,” or intermodal shipping container. You know, those ugly rust- or gray-colored containers that sit atop 18-wheelers and block your view of the road and cause massive congestion and beaucoup emissions? And I bet you can’t name a single one of these companies. I couldn’t, until I started researching this article. They’re not exactly household names, but they should be for any investor worth his or her salt. Read the full article here! Source: The Maritime Executive