LHIND service portfolio for shipping companies

Shipping 4.0: Setting course for the digital transformation

Innovative technologies and software solutions are vital to shipping companies’ efforts to improve their efficiency, cut their costs and comply with global requirements for sustainable transit routes and secure supply chains. As an experienced IT service provider with expertise in various industries, LHIND offers a service portfolio that supports the maritime sector in driving forward the digital transformation. Our Shipping 4.0 concept enables companies to set a course for a secure, sustainable and high-yield future.

The central challenges of shipping

The maritime sector is steeped in tradition and once again faces significant upheaval. A successful digital transformation is essential if the sector is to overcome the challenges ahead.

Reasons to embrace the digital transformation of Shipping 4.0:

  1. Economic volatility and cost pressures
  2. Challenging personnel situation due to the skilled worker shortage
  3. Increasing complexity combined with a need for efficiency
  4. Increasingly stringent environmental regulations and sustainability requirements
  5. The need for improved cybersecurity
  6. New digital standards

Contact us today so that we can work together to build your digital future!

Shipping 4.0 - the way

The maritime industry must set course for Shipping 4.0

Shipping 4.0: Our services for your digital future

Shipping 4.0 is our vision of a digital, networked and sustainable shipping company in the future, based on technological and organizational expertise. We can support you in every aspect of digitalization projects, from strategic consultancy and product idea development to implementation, roll-out and cost-efficient cloud operation. In this context, digitalization is not an end in itself: it should help shipping companies to adopt a future-proof, highly competitive position. We apply our accumulated industry knowledge and IT expertise to put your transit operations on course for Shipping 4.0.

With our Shipping 4.0 service portfolio, we are your partner on the journey to a successful digital transformation in the maritime sector – following a target-oriented, needs-based approach without relying on any one manufacturer. We combine our experience in the aviation sector with our extensive expertise in the maritime sector.

Consultancy and development services for digital strategies

  • Analysis of the digital status quo
  • Development of tailored digital strategies to optimize current business and as a basis upon which to develop new business models
  • Creation of a modern, tailored data strategy

Needs analysis and implementation


  • Shipping companies must now deal with significantly more complex procedures and configurations in every area, from their internal procedures and organization structure to their IT landscape and shipping operations.
  • The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) is defining new digital standards that are set to become established in the sector (e.g. 100% eBL by 2030).

LHIND services:

  • Requirements analysis, process design and product idea development
  • Implementation of digital solutions for the entire value chain – either developing bespoke solutions or customizing standard products
  • Integration, roll-out and cost-efficient cloud operation

Making data-based decisions possible


  • Data is absolutely pivotal to efforts to optimize existing processes and develop innovative new business models.

LHIND services:

  • Master data management: concepts and development
  • Establishment of data lakes and data analytics
  • AI consultancy
  • Development and operation of AI solutions

Environmental protection & IT opportunities


  • The maritime sector is responsible for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions – and this figure is rising. Reports suggest that, as global trade increases, the maritime sector’s share of total emissions could increase to 17% by 2050. It is vital to chart a digital course for climate targets such as net zero emissions.

LHIND services:

  • Consultancy on implementation of environmentally friendly technologies and processes
  • Highlighting opportunities to reduce the environmental footprint of the shipping industry
  • IT tools and consultancy for ESG monitoring and reporting, materiality analyses, carbon footprint assessments, IT software and hardware

 Risk assessment and minimization


  • According to a CyberOwl survey conducted in 2022, 44% of the industry specialists surveyed were victims of a cyberattack. Participants in the maritime industry along the entire value and supply chain are affected. Problem: Ports and shipping companies are obliged by KRITIS and NIS2 to take comprehensive cybersecurity measures.

LHIND services:

  • Development of tailor-made security solutions and advice on risk minimization
  • Advice on data and identity protection in a networked environment
  • Implementation of pentests for critical systems

Shipping 4.0: The big picture for liner and tramp shipping companies

In addition to our focus on the IT solutions required for digitalization processes, we are also devoted to our customers’ business operations – and all the associated internal and external challenges.

We offer comprehensive consultancy, conduct development, roll-out concepts, operate solutions and offer our customers a range of products and platforms.

Our comprehensive technology portfolio aims to meet the specific requirements of both liner and tramp shipping companies.

Find out more in our whitepaper: How Shipping 4.0 Will Shape the Digital Future of the Maritime Industry .

Transformation to a digital, sustainable approach – Shipping 4.0. Efficient, interconnected, sustainable.

Navigating into the future: The key role of innovative technologies in the shipping sector

Innovative technologies have a vital role to play in driving forward the digital transformation in the shipping sector. Not only are technologies including 5G, APIs, data analytics, AI and microservices/cloud computing dominant at present, they will also be decisive in shaping future developments. A comprehensive digitalization strategy that integrates these technologies will enable shipping companies to achieve higher efficiency and flexibility while also exploiting new potential for growth and competitive advantages in an increasingly networked, data-driven world.

Schematic showing the far-reaching impacts of technologies including 5G, APIs, data analytics, AI and microservices/cloud computing on processes in the shipping sector.

The technology stack for your sustainable digitalization project

Shipping 4.0 is not a standardized product: it is a concept that aims to promote efficiency, networking and sustainability in the maritime sector. It is achieved through implementation of a data-based digitalization strategy, tailored to the requirements of a shipping company and its business strategy. It integrates modern and innovative technologies, placing a particular focus on customers and employees. While established technologies like cloud computing already play an essential role, over the long term, specific processes will be influenced by more recent technologies, such as edge computing. This comprehensive strategy places shipping companies in an ideal position to face the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future.

Starlink is becoming a key technology for satellite-aided communication in areas without an Internet connection via standard cellular networks. This makes it particularly important in enabling ships to exchange data and information.

Satellite-aided systems are supplemented by 5G cellular network technology, especially in areas close to harbors. This 5G technology facilitates the use of autonomous systems – such as ship steering systems when close to harbors, where high-speed data transmission is essential. Network slicing opens the door for companies in the maritime sector to establish their own campus networks, which can then be used for ultra-critical applications or emergency communications. It also facilitates the high-resolution video communication needed to conduct detailed repairs and maintenance remotely.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) optimize procedures, automate processes and minimize human error by facilitating seamless connections between systems and platforms. Shipping companies can use APIs to provide an enhanced customer experience, from online bookings to freight tracking. While asynchronous data exchange via EDIs will play an important role in the near future, the integration of APIs will become increasingly relevant – including in the context of Shipping 4.0 – due to the high flexibility and interactivity they offer.

The integration of data analytics, especially in conjunction with a digital twin, plays a decisive role in the shipping industry. By applying statistical and mathematical models and leveraging machine learning, shipping companies can optimize their business decisions and processes. This includes recorded data from ships and other facilities in real time and consolidating this data in a digital twin. Analyzing this data with the help of data analytics enables shipping companies to generate additional insights and refine their business model. This presents an opportunity to increase efficiency, minimize risks and improve overall fleet performance.

Artificial intelligence has garnered considerable attention, especially since the launch of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools. The use of Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS) is transforming the role of customer management in the shipping industry. Ready-made AI solutions that can be tailored to a customer’s specific situation and integrated into existing IT infrastructure with minimal effort are already available in AIaaS models. Companies can swiftly benefit from the possibilities of artificial intelligence – as the AIaaS solutions from LHIND demonstrate. ForecastAI, for instance, facilitates efficient and precise forecasting of business-related time series, such as passenger numbers or expected freight tonnage. AnonymizationAI extracts and replaces information in running text protected under the GDPR using an API. The Smart Assistant, which is based on OpenAI technology, examines a company’s internal documents in any language to provide personalized responses to search queries.

The targeted division of applications into small and autonomous services makes software systems more flexible and more reliable. These microservices have a scalable structure and are operated in the cloud, which means they can be automatically re-engaged in the event of an outage. New services can be automatically added in periods of high load.

Cloud architectures offer enhanced accessibility and seamless data exchange between users and applications, as the data is centralized and accessible via the Intranet. Thanks to modern programming languages such as Go and Rust, microservices have significantly lower memory and processor requirements than other languages, such as JAVA. This translates to low costs, especially in the context of cloud-based operation.

Shipping 4.0 reality check: An industry example

Reality check: An industry example of end-to-end digitalization

By implementing centralized, integrated and component-based IT systems and automating business processes, shipping companies can cut costs, save time and react more quickly to change customer requirements. We demonstrated and successfully implemented this in the case of Hamburg Süd, a container shipping company. Hamburg Süd launched a company-program called GLOBE, with the aim of transforming all its internal processes, the IT landscape and organizational structure in line with the company’s business requirements. GLOBE (Global Logistics Organization Business Environment) is a flexible, scalable shipping system that reflects Hamburg Süd’s business strategy and supports the entire customer journey from start to finish. You can read the entire success story here.

  • We have supported the container shipping company Hamburg Süd in relation to the digital transformation for over 15 years.
  • We were the main partner in the development of its central carrier system, which facilitates service standardization, process consolidation and scaling with the market.
  • The developed system has a modular structure and offers optimal, data-centered IT support for business processes (end-to-end).
  • It covers processes ranging from offer preparation to contract management and order handling, including all necessary documentation
  • Main partner for the GLOBE (Global Logistics Organization Business Environment) program
  • Overall planning and administration of the program’s most important projects
  • Architecture drafting, development and testing
  • Global roll-out
  • Orchestration of production support
  • Updates to technology (in the cloud) throughout the program life cycle
  • Over 50 different applications replaced (6,000 users) 
  • Centralized, component-based IT system (end-to-end customer journey)
  • Strategic standardization of business and IT processes through IT-driven business-related and organizational change processes

FAQs: Key questions about Shipping 4.0

Digitalization is necessary to prevent companies from losing touch with the volatile framework conditions of the maritime sector – whether due to economic fluctuations, cost pressures, the shortage of skilled workers, new international standards and legal provisions, or environmental and sustainability conditions. New threats also emerge time and again due to cyberattacks.

It presents an opportunity to optimize the entire value chain, as digital processes can improve efficiency and thereby reduce costs. It also facilitates transparent cost monitoring. In addition, data analyses can be used to identify new business models relevant to the market. The benefits of a digitalized shipping company extend beyond the business itself, because the company can present itself as being focused on the future.

As companies realize a digital transformation, the IT and specialist departments become more closely linked, forming a single unit. Processes such as accounting, crew management, chartering and route planning are increasingly automated. In addition, the volume of sensor and analysis data continues to increase. Shipping companies, harbors, authorities and maritime service providers already exchange significant amounts of data – and, as environmental regulations tighten, this data exchange will rise further still. Overall, day-to-day operations will become increasingly networked and global.

Through our Shipping 4.0 service portfolio, we are helping companies to optimize their processes with digital technologies and thereby ensure their competitive position. We follow a holistic approach: from the digital strategy to implementation and operation of a system that secures the business and creates new opportunities and business models. Intelligent networking of the collected data is followed by reanalysis, thereby achieving even higher efficiency and sustainable growth.

A team of IT specialists and experienced consultants with various areas of expertise work together with shipping companies to develop individual, tailored and efficient solutions. In an initial meeting, we work with our customer to sketch out the challenges and objectives. After clarifying their needs and the framework conditions, we put together a service offering. Depending on the specific topic, we might get started straight away by holding a workshop. Our experts can host this event either in person or in a virtual format.

Why is Lufthansa Industry Solutions the right partner on the way to Shipping 4.0?

At Lufthansa Industry Solutions, we have supported shipping companies and other stakeholders in the maritime industry for more than 15 years. Our long-standing expertise in the field of digitalization makes us a valuable partner for companies in various sectors. Yet, whatever their sector and whatever their size, our customers all face the same challenge: the need to structure their IT processes throughout their entire value chain in a way that reduces costs while achieving long-term improvements in revenue and efficiency.

Parallels between aviation and shipping

There are a number of parallels between the aviation and shipping industries in terms of their business processes, booking plans and global supply chains. Both sectors entail multifaceted, complex processes that require considerable flexibility. Like aviation, the maritime transport business is currently undergoing massive upheaval. Companies are increasingly agreeing mergers and partnerships in an effort to offset fluctuations in capacity demand. In the future, shipping companies will take on even more tasks in the supply chain. New digital technologies will offer intelligent means of managing these processes. This is why we offer industry stakeholders – from conventional shipping companies and harbor authorities to harbor operators and logistics firms – the full spectrum of services from a single source, from consultancy on IT services through to their implementation.

IATA and DCSA standards show the way

Just like the IATA in the aviation industry, the DCSA sets standards for container shipping. These organizations have shown that while standardization and digitalization not only promote efficiency and interoperability but also set the entire industry on a future-proof course. Translating these principles to the principles to the shipping sector is a logical step in overcoming this complexity and implementing innovative solutions. We assist companies in the implementation of industry standards, e.g. the electronic bill of lading (eBL).

Digital expertise spanning industries

We possess years of experience in the digitalization of processes – across industries and independent of any one manufacturer. Our first-hand experience means we are intimately familiar with the maritime sector. We have assisted shipping companies in strategic development and implementation and in adapting their processes for many years. Many of the challenges we have already tackled for our customers in other industries will emerge in the maritime industry in the years ahead, especially for traditional shipping companies. If we view the digital transformation as a race, the task is to win by combining a series of short sprints with a far-sighted approach. We are the right partner for companies looking to develop ideas for the future and implement them successfully. Our approach to such projects is both pragmatic and solution-oriented. We are experts in translating specialist requirements into digital solutions and into processes, methods, culture and standards.

We support you from the initial idea through to ongoing system operation.

Send us your questions and find out more about Shipping 4.0.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Would you like further details of how our Shipping 4.0 service portfolio can benefit your company and help to improve the efficiency of all processes? Simply fill out our contact form to receive a non-binding offer.