e5 Lab establishes Marindows Inc. and offers global maritime solutions

e5 Lab.Inc. has announced the establishment of Marindows Inc. to bring the world’s most advanced information technology (IT) to Japan’s maritime industry.

e5 Lab establishes Marindows Inc. and offers global maritime solutions

e5Lab is a joint venture of four companies: Asahi Tanker Co., Ltd., Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., and Mitsubishi Corporation that aims to develop electrically powered, zero-emission vessels.

Looking at logistics in Japan—a maritime nation surrounded by the sea—marine transport accounts for 45% of Japan’s domestic cargo transport and 99% of overseas cargo transport. In recent years, the maritime industry, which serves as Japan’s lifeline, has faced extremely complex and difficult-to-solve social, environmental, and economic issues. These include a shortage of manpower due to a sharp decline in the working-age population, long working hours and dangerous work for crewmembers, global-scale environmental issues, and intense competition from overseas such as China and South Korea. The depressed Japanese maritime industry leads not only to problems in logistics, but also a decline in overall national strength, bringing various negative impacts on all types of land-based businesses. Considering this situation, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has promoted legislation aimed at improving productivity and creating a more attractive work environment in the maritime industry and enhance the business foundation of the Maritime sector. 

As typified by Smart City, the digital transformation (DX) has been promoted beyond individual corporate frameworks by national and local governments. The nextgeneration services and systems inspired by DX create completely new values and businesses. On the other hand, the maritime industry, with a market scale exceeding ¥8.5 trillion, got behind of DX due to various hurdles such as difficulty in development of communication environment and longstanding business practices. Under such circumstances, an ocean broadband (ocean BB) service, using a next-generation satellite, will start in 2022.

Looking toward the coming of ocean BB communication, Marindows will develop a streamlined digital platform (ocean OS “Marindows”), which allows for evolution and expansion by drawing upon the power of the information and communication revolution (incorporating ocean BB communication/DX/AI). With the OS “Marindows” as the driving force, the company will address social, environmental, and economic issues facing the maritime industry. Marindows will create new value and markets in the Maritime industry along with partners of various leading companies having good business relationship with e5 Lab which is mother company of Marindows.

The Ocean OS “Marindows” is easy-to-use on existing ships as well as newbuilding ships. In Phase 1, the team will start developing services to improve operations for seafarers, shipowners, and shipping companies through the use of existing operation DX and data, in parallel with promotion of ocean BB communication. 

Mr.Hirofumi Takano, Executive Vice President, Director of Innovation Development Division, ClassNK, said:

"Innovation utilizing digital technology and cyber risks are two sides of the same coin. For the development and the spread of innovation to be conducted under a safe environment, ClassNK supports the initiative through the provision of best practices constructed based on international trends and up-to-date information on cyber security."

Mr.Kazuma Waimatsu, Director/Divisional General Manager, Marine Electronic Products Division, Furuno Electric Co., Ltd., said:

"Furuno engages in engineering related to gathering onboard data, beyond its traditional role as a manufacturer of marine equipment. We design onboard IT networks depending on the application, enhance connection with onboard equipment using the Furuno Open Platform (FOP), and aim for efficient use by integrating and centralizing onboard IoT data. We are honored that, along with Marindows and co-creation partner companies, we will be able to direct and co-create the future of the next-generation maritime industry, through use of a new form of ship - shore communication and IoT data based on our experiences as maritime system integrator. Furthermore, we are thinking of ways to contribute to the project and put our activities securely in the forefront of practical innovation in the marine industry."