Mentions of robotics within the filings of companies in the maritime industry rose 537% between the first and second quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to robotics between July 2020 and June 2021 was 200% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When companies in the maritime industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Robotics is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether robotics is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the maritime industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned robotics at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 33% compared to 13% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to robotics.
Of the 50 biggest employers in the maritime industry, Nippon Express Co Ltd was the company which referred to robotics the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 24 robotics-related sentences in the Japan-based company's filings - 0.7% of all sentences. Korean Air Lines Co Ltd mentioned robotics the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.4% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high robotics mentions included XPO Logistics Inc, MTR Corporation Ltd and Japan Airlines Co Ltd.
Across all companies in the maritime industry the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on robotics came from XPO Logistics Inc. Of the document's 1,093 sentences, 10 (0.9%) referred to robotics.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on robotics and how important the issue is considered within the maritime industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning robotics more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into robotics have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, companies in the maritime industry based in Asia were most likely to mention robotics with 0.1% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Western Europe mentioned robotics in just 0.01% of sentences.
By Andrew Hillman.