The oceans are the last ‘white spot’ for the mobile communication industry to connect. Global shipping company Maersk Line has appointed Ericsson to address this by introducing end-to-end integration and deployment of mobile and satellite communication to its entire vessel fleet.
The Maersk Line fleet comprises more than 500 container vessels. Over the next two years, Maersk Line will outfit 400 of these vessels with Ericsson antennas and GSM base stations, with upgrades to be made to the remaining vessels soon after, the company said.
As part of the agreement, Ericsson will provide seven years of global managed services support, including 24/7 network monitoring and onboard maintenance services in a large number of ports across all major regions.
“We’re proud to be able to connect Maersk Line’s fleet with our technology. We believe in a Networked Society, where connectivity will only be the starting point for new ways of innovating, collaborating and socializing. The result will be automated and simplified processes, higher productivity, real-time information allowing quicker, more informed decision making and problem solving,” Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg said.
Mobile communication provides the opportunity to employ new and efficient ways of addressing fleet management, managing delivery times, improving interaction with vessels, enabling proactive issue resolution, prompt information sharing with customers and even improving energy efficiency for the shipping industry.
“We’re quite pleased to be the first fleet to be connected with mobile communication technology. We believe the opportunities this will provide us to improve our communication with our colleagues at sea, as well as our service to customers, are many, and we will certainly be looking at all of them in near future,” Vice President of Maersk Line Operations Soren Toft said.
Maersk Line’s high-tech modern container ships have been equipped with satellite connectivity until now. This was primarily intended to support communication for vital shipboard functions.
But Ericsson’s integrated maritime mobile and very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite solution will bring extended connectivity to the entire fleet, allowing for new ways of communicating and contributing to efficiency, reliability and cost reduction, the company stated.