Japanese Maritime Leaders Advance Digital Twin Technology

Tokyo, Japan – Japanese maritime leaders have announced the successful completion of the early phases of a cross-industry project to create a secure data-sharing framework between shipyards and shipowners. This project, involving NYK Group company MTI Co. Ltd. (MTI), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), Marubeni Corporation, Imabari Shipbuilding, Japan Marine United Corporation, Usuki Shipyard, NAPA, and ClassNK, aims to enhance the use of digital twins throughout a ship’s lifecycle. The initiative focuses on using a vessel’s unique design data to optimize efficiency and safety at sea while sharing operational data to inform new ship designs.

Initial results have shown that increased data sharing between shipyards, shipowners, ship managers, and charterers is feasible by overcoming obstacles related to sharing sensitive design and operational data. In the first two phases, over 30 potential use cases were identified for securely sharing data and 3D models to create vessel-specific digital twins. These twins help improve operational efficiency and safety throughout a ship’s lifecycle. Further analysis confirmed the value of digital twins in supporting loading calculations, ship condition monitoring, and evaluating energy-saving devices.

The next phase of the project will develop a platform to securely share 3D models created during the design stage. This platform will operate in an access-controlled digital environment and introduce new business models for commercial agreements, potentially creating new revenue streams for shipyards and solution providers. ClassNK will lead this phase to ensure the platform’s neutrality and fairness.

Set to start operation in 2025, this project could revolutionize the sharing of design and operational data, overcoming traditional barriers to the adoption of digital twins in the maritime sector. The partnership also aims to feed operational data back to shipyards, providing valuable insights on real-life performance and enabling improvements in future ship designs.

Mr. Naoki Mizutani, Executive Vice President for NAPA Studios, highlighted the project’s collaborative spirit, saying it bridges design and operational data for safer, more efficient, and greener shipping. Mr. Yoshimichi Sasaki, General Manager of the Digital Transformation Center at ClassNK, emphasized that digital twins offer unparalleled insights into a ship’s design and unlock new opportunities for optimizing operations and maintenance, fostering closer dialogue between shipyards and shipowners.

About NAPA

NAPA is a leading provider of software and digital services for the global maritime industry, harnessing data science to enable safer, more sustainable and future-proof shipping.

Founded in 1989 to provide smart solutions for ship design, NAPA is now the global reference in shipbuilding, with over 90% of new vessels built by NAPA customers. Today, the company’s expertise spans the entire lifecycle of a ship, from shipyards to operational safety and efficiency at sea. Over 3000 commercial ships globally sail with NAPA safety and efficiency solutions, which include digital ship stability systems that enable a proactive approach to safety at sea, cloud-based performance monitoring that delivers insights to unlock new operational efficiencies, and voyage optimization solutions that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from voyages.

Headquartered in Finland, NAPA employs 200 experts and operates globally, with a presence in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, the USA, Germany, Greece, Romania and India.

About ClassNK

Established in 1899, ClassNK is a classification society dedicated to safety and environmental protection through third-party certification. ClassNK has conducted diverse technical services including surveys and classifications of ships and marine structures based on its own rules, international conventions on behalf of more than 100 flag states, management system certifications in line with ISO and other industry standards. ClassNK has committed to provide the industry with its full support to pave the way for digitalization and decarbonization challenges through the expanding certification service and R&D with industry partners.


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