Buzz Filings: Tracking Digitalization Mentions in the Maritime Industry

Mentions of digitization in maritime company filings were 63% higher between October 2020 and September 2021 than in 2016, according to the latest data analysis from GlobalData.

When companies in the maritime industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other documents, GlobalData analyzes the text and identifies individual phrases related to the disruptive forces the companies will face in the years to come. Digitization is one such topic – companies that excel and invest in these areas are seen as better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to overcome unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether digitalization is more present in the summaries and strategies of companies in the maritime sector, two measures were calculated. First, we looked at the percentage of companies that mentioned digitization at least once in their filings over the last twelve months – it was 82% compared to 55% in 2016. Second, we calculated the percentage of total analyzed sentences referring to digitization.

Among the 50 largest employers in the maritime sector, ID Logistics Group is the company that has referred to digitalization the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData has identified 45 phrases related to digitalization in the records of the company based in France, i.e. 9% of all sentences. Sinotrans Ltd mentioned digitization in second place – the issue was mentioned in 4.2% of sentences in company filings. FedEx Corp, XPO Logistics Inc and Poste Italiane Group are among the other top employers with high digitization ratings.

Of all the companies in the maritime sector, the file released in the third quarter of 2021 that placed the most emphasis on digitization came from Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co Ltd. Of the 1,304 sentences in the document, 25 (1.9%) referred to digitization.

This analysis provides a rough indication of which companies are focusing on digitization and how important the issue is in the maritime industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted with caution. For example, a company that mentions digitization more regularly is not necessarily evidence that it is using new techniques or prioritizing the problem, nor does it indicate whether the company’s businesses in the digitization have been successes or failures.

Last quarter, maritime companies based in Asia were the most likely to mention digitization with 0.71% of sentences in company filings referencing the issue. In contrast, companies headquartered in the United States mentioned digitization in just 0.4% of sentences.