Maritime enterprises are important pillars of the economy of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Whether logistics, shipbuilding or underwater technology--the Baltic Sea profits from the German state’s collaborative research. What trends and potential are currently on the horizon was the core issue of the 8th Future Conference of the Maritime Economy of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania in the Hanseatic city of Rostock. Held on November 28, it offered a platform for learning about best practices, displayed the economic might of maritime companies and allowed professionals and scientists to discuss the transfer of research into practice. The four sessions addressed projects in the areas of port services and logistics, shipping, shipbuilding and subcontracting, and offshore, which were presented with three practical examples for use in businesses.
One noteworthy project that could turn Rostock into a one-of-a-kind research locale was presented by Tommy Kaltofen from ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH: The “Ocean Technology Center” (OTC) is set to revolutionize underwater technology research with a versatile, offshore testing field. With its relatively calm waters, the Baltic Sea offers the ideal conditions for developing high-tech solutions. The diverse areas of the “Digital Ocean Lab” offshore area can be used for activities such as training ROVs, experimenting with munitions recovery and testing out new cable coverings. It will also be possible to adapt the underwater testing ground to suit other current needs without difficulty.
This major project is led by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and supported by a strong coalition of partners from business, research, government and administration. Prof. Uwe Freiherr von Lukas, site manager of Fraunhofer IGD in Rostock, called on all maritime stakeholders in attendance to actively take part: “Think of this upcoming flagship project as an opportunity to actively help shape things--we [Fraunhofer] cannot do it alone.”
Prof. von Lukas then addressed the coming IT challenges. Thanks to the increasing digitization of the maritime sector, the incoming data would need to be organized in a sensible way: comprehensive data management and analysis should bring relief. The idea is based on the “Industrial Data Space”, which acts as a “Network of Trusted Data” to offer open access to data while preserving security and sovereignty over data and services from businesses. The “Maritime Data Space” (MarDS) focuses, as the name suggests, on the maritime sector, in areas such as fleet management, digital service life records for ships and ship automation. Prof. von Lukas also called on attendees to join in here, stating that work on and with digital twins and artificial intelligence for automatically analyzing large volumes of data would be the future of the industry--but that the basis of data necessary would require everyone’s input.
The conference was organized on behalf of the Maritime Committee of the Rostock Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.