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The shipping industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increasing global trade and commerce and the need for efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable sea transportation solutions, as well as growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial and augmented intelligence, advanced vessel operation monitoring systems, and hydrogen fuel cells. In the last three years alone, there have been over 67,000 patents filed and granted in the shipping industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Ship: Cargo securing arrangements. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

30+ innovations will shape the shipping industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the shipping industry using innovation intensity models built on over 25,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Vessel propulsion systems, gas turbine-propelled vessels, and vessel internal combustion engine are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are underwater drilling support systems and anti-fouling ship hull coatings, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the shipping industry

Cargo securing arrangements is a key innovation area in shipping

Cargo securing arrangements are crucial for the safe handling and transport of cargoes. Primary methods for cargo securing include blocking, locking and straight/crossed/loop/top-over lashings. Cargo securing arrangements differ based on the type and stowage position of the cargo. Major cargo securing equipment include twistlocks, lashing bars, turnbuckles, extension hooks, stacking cones, twist stackers, and lashing D rings.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established shipping companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cargo securing arrangements.

Key players in cargo securing arrangements – a disruptive innovation in the shipping industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to cargo securing arrangements

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Korea Development Bank 36 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 30 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 23 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings 14 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 8 Unlock Company Profile
AFC Mercury 8 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 6 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Marine United 6 Unlock Company Profile
LNT Marine Pte 6 Unlock Company Profile
Technip Energies 6 Unlock Company Profile
Engie 5 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), a company based in South Korea, is the leading patent filer in cargo securing arrangements.

The patents filed by DSME in this space are related to load-accommodating arrangements on cargo ships, cargo hold structure for crude oil carriers, and tank monitoring apparatus for detecting leakage.

MacGregor, a subsidiary of Cargotec, was selected in September 2022 to supply container lashing systems for 12 container vessels that DSME is constructing for German shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd.

Other leading patent filers in cargo securing arrangements include Samsung Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

In terms of application diversity, Panasonic leads the pack, followed by Shell and Technip Energies. By geographic reach, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is the leading company, followed by Technip Energies and Japan Marine United.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the shipping industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Shipping.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.