SM Line tests real-time vessel monitoring system based on Internet of Things technology


South Korea’s SM Line has announced it has begun a boxship sailing to test a real-time vessel monitoring system based on Internet of Things technology.

For the trial, SM Line installed a Very-Small-Aperture Terminal and IoT devices on one of its vessels, the 2007-built, 6,655 teu SM Busan, which allows the company to monitor the condition of the ship and cargo in real time as the ship is making the voyage, it said in a statement. VSAT is a satellite communications system that serves home and business users.  

IoT devices first transmit the cargo data to the VSAT, which is subsequently delivered to SM Line’s central computer server via satellite uplink.

SM Busan is currently en route to Long Beach in the US.

“VSATs are often used to ensure the safety of vessels or for seafarers’ communication purposes. But it has gradually become increasingly common in usage for the tracking and checking of cargoes,” said the company.

“It has more potential because it can be linked with blockchain technology.” 

SM Line is a member of the government-backed shipping and logistics blockchain consortium, which was established in May to bolster the use of blockchain technology within the country’s shipping industry.

Apart from SM Line, the 15-member consortium includes Hyundai Merchant Marine, Samsung SDS, IBM Korea, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Busan Port Authority and other shipping lines in the country.  

In early November, SM Line became the second member from the consortium to complete its pilot voyage using blockchain technology.  

The company, in partnership with other members of the consortium, sailed one of its vessels to Bangkok and then to Ho Chi Minh City. 

During the voyage, the company focused on minimising time spent on distribution and administrative processes when it shared information with banks, insurance firms and tax authorities, such as packing list and invoices, via blockchain technology on board the vessel.

In September, another consortium member, Hyundai Merchant Marine completed its pilot voyageusing such blockchain technology.