What does it mean to have a digital fleet?

By Claire Cole

Operating a modern fleet is no easy feat. When you add in the many factors outside ship operators’ control, it gets even harder, and they’re facing a challenging environment right now. They need to keep tight control over vessel operations to ensure sufficient capacity to meet demand. They need their ship propulsion systems to run as efficiently as possible while maintaining schedules.

You may have heard of utilizing a digital twin for a single vessel – using the virtual representation of a ship to analyze and optimize performance characteristics. But have you considered expanding this crucial tool to an entire fleet to optimize the performance of the whole operation best?

Creating a digital fleet with the digital twin

While a digital twin of a single vessel can help optimize its performance, that benefit can be applied to an entire fleet when expanded to cover every vessel within the enterprise. Operators can look at factors such as maintenance frequency and fuel costs to identify patterns across the fleet. Ships create gigabytes of data that, once analyzed and interpreted, can be used to improve performance.

Creating a digital fleet with the help of a digital twin takes the vast amount of data available to operators and makes it easier to evaluate across multiple ships. Fine-tuning the fleet, even slightly, can quickly turn into a competitive advantage for operators.

The benefits of a digital fleet

A digital twin is only the starting point of a digital fleet. Using advanced data analytics beyond the digital twin can enable operators to do things such as guarantee a specific arrival time, making them more appealing to clients and potentially leading to more business.

For example, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies can help better predict future positions, movements and maneuvers hours in advance. This, in turn, can help game out routes, prevent collisions, optimize fuel consumption and enhance safety. Applying this across an entire fleet can play a significant part in meeting business objectives and helping operators make better decisions.

Ready to create your digital fleet?

The benefits of a digital fleet are clear, and it’s where the marine industry is heading with the many digital tools available today. You can read our free analyst brief to learn more about creating a digital fleet.

If you’re interested in learning more about the marine industry’s future, click the button below to read the other briefs in the series.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at