Smart containers ready to disrupt the seafood industry

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The seafood industry must comply with increasingly strict demands from consumers on sustainable seafood production. For that reason, a group of graduates have spent their summer at DNV GL developing smart “robot containers” with cooling systems that can sail to ports without any human interaction.

<p>DNV GL summer students’ SEAtrue concept.</p>

DNV GL summer students’ SEAtrue concept.


The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) predicts that food production must increase by 70% to feed the world population in 2050. A sustainable increase in food production, especially proteins, is a necessity to maintain global development in line with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Land-based agriculture is already pushing the limits of sustainability and requires a more sustainable approach to feed new generations, whereas the oceans hold a great deal of unused potential.

Seafood undoubtedly has some of the greatest potential in terms of protein sources. Due to biological constraints and the sustainability of wild catch, the growth within wild captures will be minimal in the years to come. This implies that growth in the seafood sector must originate from the aquaculture industry. The production and transportation of seafood must seek innovative sustainable solutions to meet these growth ambitions.

Technological advances offer us unprecedented opportunities for efficient seafood production. Enhanced cooling systems for extended shelf life, autonomous vessels and big data can reduce costs, ensure higher product quality and better informed consumers.

Introducing SEAtrue

SEAtrue is a supply chain for offshore distribution of aquaculture products. The consumer application TraceEat sends information about consumer preferences and enables best possible use of resources. The seafood is transported in autonomous, smart “robot containers” which employ sophisticated cooling techniques to extend shelf life. SEAtrue is a cutting-edge supply chain system that allows for optimal distribution and lower emissions. Moreover, it adjusts production to meet demand and thereby enhances a sustainable aquaculture industry.

The self-propelled containers are released from the processing vessel, and either position themselves for pick-up by a designated container ship, or sail directly to a nearby port. That way, transportation by sea becomes more effective and efficient and uses data from an autonomous fleet of container ships to determine the optimal routing to reach the consumer.

Information about how aquaculture products are produced, the environmental impact, price, transport distance and feed composition are becoming increasingly important to consumers. In turn, such growing expectations drive a demand for efficiency, competitiveness and quality throughout the value chain of an aquaculture farming industry in rapid expansion.

Growth in the sustainable ocean economy

The autonomous supply chain begins at the aquaculture farm with fully-autonomous processing ships.

These processing ships serve a cluster of offshore farms, from which they harvest seafood and slaughter the marine organisms. The seafood is further processed and cooled, using new cooling technology which allows for an increase in the shelf life of up to 40 days. After cooling, the products are stored in specialised containers called Self-Propelled Smart Containers.

If the solution is implemented, this would represent a significant opportunity and progress for Norwegian trade and business. The students hope that the project is globally scalable, because access to nutritious protein supplements, both from sea and land, is not a certainty in all places.

With this solution, additional onshore infrastructure is not a necessity because distribution happens with the use of processing vessels and autonomous self-propelled containers to the market. It entails that the solution is easily scalable from one place to another without special demands for vast infrastructure investments. Thus, the solution is particularly suited for areas with poorly developed infrastructure.

What is opportunity leadership?

SEAtrue has been developed by young students over some busy summer weeks. The project involved rapid prototyping and high degree of innovation driven forward by a strong opportunity mindset. So what can business leaders learn from young students?

<p>2017 DNV GL summer student team</p>

2017 DNV GL summer student team

We have over the last years worked with the annual publication Global Opportunity Report. We have through this work analysed how opportunity leaders work to drive forward new solutions to pressing social problems.

Hence, I am happy to share something with you that I believe will transform the way you lead your business. Three secrets that may unlock your mindset, turn risks to opportunities and help you become an opportunity leader.

1. The core can kill you

Opportunity leaders spend more time on the edges of their business landscape than at the core. It is at the edges where new solutions emerge and innovation happens.

When you live on the edge, you can better see new markets, new sectors, new players – new opportunities. You can see the way – and the need – to build hybrid business models with other opportunity leaders on the edge of their business landscapes. We can see, first-hand, this trend of rising markets at the edges – such as the those between food and pharma, and between banking and telecommunications, just to mention a few.

When you focus on your core, you lose sight of the edge. It means that great opportunity leaders are always ‘heads up’ – they look to the points furthest away from their business landscape. They live on the edge because it is closer to the future.

2. Risk can be your rescue

Opportunity leaders know that the greatest risks to your business are also your greatest opportunities.

You exist in a systemic risk landscape. In this growing, global sharing economy, we all share the risks. Your risk is my risk. But every risk needs a solution, and that is your business opportunity.

3. Map your opportunity landscape

Once you have acknowledged the need to move beyond the core and into edge markets to stay relevant in the future market landscape, you need to find out where, exactly, these new market universes lie. All corporations have today functions like Risk Managers and have processes and systems to undertake systematic risk mapping. Going forward, you will need to engage your organization in a new opportunity mindset and create a culture for systematic opportunity mapping.

So these are the three secrets that I believe will make you an opportunity leader. We are operating in a transformative global market landscape, which you can help shape if you live on the edge, use risk as a rescue and map your opportunity landscape.

The power of youth?

Perfectly articulated by Albert Einstein “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.

The opportunity mindset and leadership are elegantly demonstrated by the young students behind SEAtrue - smart containers ready to disrupt the seafood industry.

Follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter and read my recent posts on DNV GL Sustainability blog.

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