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Starlink “transformative” in shipping

July 5, 2024

Pacôme Révillon, CEO of Novaspace (the name of the merged Euroconsult and SpaceTec) says that SpaceX’s Starlink broadband by satellite system has been “transformative” in terms of its maritime customers.

Speaking to Constellations, Révillon said that shipping is a highly complex environment, not least because of the variety of rules and obligations and just like everywhere else there’s a growing demand for reliable data connectivity. There’s also a distinct trend leading to distant monitoring of a vessel and fewer on-board staff.

“In the maritime domain, Starlink has already been transformative,” he says, and at a lower cost compared to traditional antennas.

But he cautions that Starlink will soon have competitionnoting: “If we look middle term, there are other constellation projects out there that will certainly look at competing with what Starlink is offering today,” and that Starlink is not licenced to operate everywhere.

Meanwhile, maritime demands themselves are evolving speedily but there are thousands of vessels still to be equipped and this will take many years, he adds. But once a vessel is equipped the prospects are that owners and managers will demand more data, and where the vessel is integrated into Internet of Things which will require more bandwidth.

The overall objective is greater efficiency, in the management of the vessel and its cargo and predictive maintenance and optimised operations. Saving just 5 per cent – 10 per cent of costs via these methods would lead to a massive overall saving for a fleet operator.

While Révillon was focused on maritime’s commercial fleets, and not the world’s cruise liners, there was a comment last week from the CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, who said that Starlink had proved to be a “game changer” for Carnival. “We completed the rollout of Starlink this quarter, another revenue uplift opportunity and a real game-changer for our onboard connectivity experience; We’re spending more on bandwidth than we ever have, and it’s generating outsized returns because people love the service. It’s land like and it’s something people are willing to pay for.”

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