New initiatives on collaboration, transparency and data-sharing for today's smart ports and interconnected vessels.

The Future of Maritime & Energy Post COVID-19

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In 2020 an unprecedented disruption to “business as usual” hit the globe with a pandemic of a disease called COVID-19. From accelerated digitization of the workplace with millions suddenly working from home, to manufacturers pivoting and actually changing their products to help the world cope with new and sudden needs, never before seen or experienced phenomena are happening in businesses around the globe, and analogies have been made to both the Great Recession of 2008 and World War II.

We at Informa Connect have a mission to provide access to extraordinary people and exceptional insight. Our parent company, Informa plc, is a global business with a network of trusted brands in specialist markets across more than 30 countries, and a member of the FTSE 100. We are well known for our conferences, however we are also at our core a digital content creator. From videos to white papers, our content taps into a network of millions of professional and commercial customers.

"56% of those surveyed have either developed or accelerated a new product, or introduced initiatives to better connect with customers." - The Future of Maritime & Energy Post COVID-19

With the spirit of our mission in mind we decided to do a deep dive into how COVID-19 is impacting our global maritime and energy customers so we could share this crucial data with them and with you, the reader. Why are people innovating? Where are they doing it? How successful are their efforts? We surveyed 296 customers to ask them how their organizations are responding to the crisis. Our initial research told us that the most important changes happening right now in organizations fell into these categories: how organizations manage crises, both before and after COVID-19; the shift to online and working from home or other changes in the workplace; how companies are trying to be relevant to their customers; and lastly, how they have applied innovations with new business initiatives or products and creating efficiencies. We’re offering our exclusive findings here, in The Future of Maritime & Energy Post COVID-19.

With the spirit of our mission in mind we decided to do a deep dive into how COVID-19 is impacting our global maritime and energy customers so we could share this crucial data with them and with you, the reader. Why are people innovating? Where are they doing it? How successful are their efforts? We surveyed 296 customers to ask them how their organizations are responding to the crisis. Our initial research told us that the most important changes happening right now in organizations fell into these categories: how organizations manage crises, both before and after COVID-19; the shift to online and working from home or other changes in the workplace; how companies are trying to be relevant to their customers; and lastly, how they have applied innovations with new business initiatives or products and creating efficiencies. We’re offering our exclusive findings here, in The Future of Maritime & Energy Post COVID-19.

An April 30 Savanta survey of US consumers gives the mind-blowing figure: “just 24% of respondents plan to go about life the same as before once we emerge from lockdown”, so business innovation is crucial right now. McKinsey recently stated that “It’s possible that entirely new businesses and business models will emerge from the crisis” and that has indeed been proven in our survey. Organizations have been poised to digitally transform their workforces for some time; right now is a turning point, with “trials by fire” bringing in both interesting and unforeseen data.

"85% of survey respondents believe that COVID-19 has impacted the need for digital transformation for businesses." - The Future of Maritime & Energy Post COVID-19

Our survey results show that COVID-19 has indeed been a disruptor, with 66% of respondents reporting negative financial impact to their businesses, but in many cases companies have been able to turn this disruption into a positive force, by innovating and accelerating the creation of new products as well as cultivating deeper relationships with their customers.

The list of new products and services that survey respondees shared with us were astounding in their diversity: from an organization that developed remote auditing of vessels, to a company that developed new exhaust gas cleaning technologies.

The majority of companies that shared their new initiatives directly had stories that involved either pivoting their manufacturing to produce sanitizer, or new internal and external digital initiatives. Several companies worked on developing alcohol and ethanol for sanitizing uses, one organization described their process: "we converted part of our demo plant to produce hand sanitizers and help the communities and hospitals around as there was shortage of this product".

Digital initiatives were put in place to protect employees and customers: "a platform to link the shipowners and the agent together and help them to make business without contact" to "all documents were digitalized via an electronic release system for cargo was used for first time at Callao port". Digital was also implemented for crew training, in many cases for the first time ever. In some cases, digitization saved up valuable time for organizations, as one company explained: "we used the time we'd freed up from travelling to design a better customer proposition."

Multiple companies reported that they paid close attention to social media post COVID-19, with such activities as integration of social media with customer service, and creating new social media profiles on channels such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. One particularly productive organization reported: "All technology advancements that were planned for 2020/21 have been moved forward and completed during this period."

Interested in knowing more? Read the full report here.

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