Shipping corporation Hapag-Lloyd will roll out the Starlink satellite internet technology across its entire fleet following a successful trial on four pilot vessels.
The German company has been testing the technology on four of its vessels since May and says that very positive feedback on private use of the internet tech and its use for remote maintenance and vessel inspections has led to the full rollout.
Hapag-Lloyd COO Dr Maximilian Rothkopf said: “We are very happy to provide our seafarers with Starlink’s high-speed satellite internet and thus to enhance their well-being on board. But also for fleet management, the change in communication and connectivity will be huge.”
Starlink, a division of controversial billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has gained popularity in the shipping world in recent years as the low-earth orbit satellite constellation delivered broadband internet across the globe, providing download speeds of 250Mbps.
Hapag-Lloyd’s launch of the technology will begin with the installation of the antenna equipment on the company’s fleet by the end of 2023 before the stepwise activation of the service begins in early 2024.
Donya-Florence Amer, Hapag Lloyd’s chief information and chief human resources officer, said: “Implementing the new technology to our fleet marks a significant leap forward in ensuring maritime connectivity and stands to revolutionise the way our seafarers stay connected while at sea.”
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Investment in satellite internet technology has played a particularly important role in the happiness of seafarers, as found by the Mission to Seafarers charity, which highlighted the tech in its Seafarers Happiness Index report, though it also found that many maritime workers found that the plans for their ships did not provide enough Wi-Fi data to stay properly connected.
Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines is another major shipping company to have introduced Starlink technology to its vessels, signing an agreement with hybrid network provider Marlink to introduce the network to its fleet at the end of 2022.