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: Reinforced pressure vessels. Buy the report here.

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

Reinforced pressure vessel is a key innovation area in shipping

Reinforced pressure vessels used by tanker ships are closed containers designed to store and transport gases or liquids at appropriate temperature and pressure conditions.

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 reinforced pressure vessel.

Key players in reinforced pressure vessels – 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 reinforced pressure vessels

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Samsung Heavy Industries 195 Unlock company profile
Korea Development Bank 125 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings 49 Unlock company profile
Korea Gas 15 Unlock company profile
Alstom 14 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock company profile
Engie 11 Unlock company profile
AFC Mercury 9 Unlock company profile
General Dynamics 8 Unlock company profile
POSCO Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Parkland 7 Unlock company profile
Aluko 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Samsung Heavy Industries is the leading innovator in reinforced pressure vessels. The patents filed by the company in this space are related to corner panel, barrier sheet, and insulation and shock absorbing structures for LNG cargo tanks.

French LNG containment specialist GTT received an order, in the first quarter of 2023, from the Korean shipbuilder to provide the tank design based on GTT’s Mark III Flex membrane containment system for two new LNG Carriers that Samsung Heavy Industries is building for an Asian ship owner.

Other leading innovators in reinforced pressure vessels include Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), Hyundai Heavy Industries, and Korea Gas.

In terms of application diversity, Panasonic leads the pack, followed by Parkland and Aluko. By geographic reach, Alstom is the leading company, followed by Panasonic and General Dynamics.

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.