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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: Turret buoy mooring system. 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

Turret buoy mooring system is a key innovation area in shipping

The turret buoy mooring system comprises a buoy permanently moored to the seabed by means of multiple anchor lines. The buoy contains a roller bearing system that allows a part of it to rotate around the fixed turret column. A tanker moored to this rotating section can freely rotate around the geostatic element of the buoy, facilitating near-shore and offshore loading/offloading operations.

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 turret buoy mooring system.

Key players in turret buoy mooring system – 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 turret buoy mooring system

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Single Buoy Moorings 59 Unlock Company Profile
Bluewater Energy Services 20 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor 8 Unlock Company Profile
BW Offshore 8 Unlock Company Profile
Saipem 8 Unlock Company Profile
Technip Energies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
FloaTEC 5 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 5 Unlock Company Profile
Stanwell Consulting 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Single Buoy Moorings is the leading patent filer in turret buoy mooring system. The patents filed by the company in this space are related to mooring systems with decoupled mooring lines/riser systems, disconnectable turret mooring systems with optional rotation between turret and manifold, high-pressure swivel system for turret-moored vessels, mooring systems for floating LNG plants, and anchoring arrangements and methods for special vessels such as floating drilling platforms and dredgers with mooring turrets.

Other leading innovators in turret buoy mooring system include Bluewater Energy Services, Equinor, and BW Offshore.

In terms of application diversity, BW Offshore leads the pack, followed by Single Buoy Moorings and Bluewater Energy Services. By geographic reach, Single Buoy Moorings is the leading company, followed by Equinor and Saipem

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.