Smartship Australia celebrates its first decade servicing the Australian maritime industry

Though Australia’s shipping has come a long way from the export of whale oil over 200 years ago, it is in the last 10 years that Australian shipping has experienced the most exponential change.

During the past decade Australia has become the largest exporter in the world of iron ore and LNG, the second largest exporter in the world of coal, and one of the most popular destination for cruise ships. The volume of cargo in Australian ports has increased by 300% during the past decade: 4 million containers were shipped in and out of Australian ports in 2001 compared to 13 million containers in 2021, and it is ports and their services that have to respond to these significant changes.

Throughout this exponential growth and rapid changes, Smartship Australia has played an important role in assisting ports with their developments and training marine pilots, ship officers and tug masters to safely move ships. With the delivery of tens of thousands training days through our mix of specialist courses and bespoke training we have targeted the honing of the skills and expertise of the modern marine pilot.

Tailor made training and skills development in a simulated environment allow us to work alongside pilotage providers to design and develop effective training to meet their needs. It is also through these processes that Smartship has built up an extensive library of ports (over 80) and one of the world’s largest catalogue of ship models (close to 200). Training for ports and their ships draws on the extensive mariner experience of instructors and Smartship’s technical support to create and deliver a customised, high fidelity simulations and challenging training experience.

Traditionally training and our other services have been delivered face-to-face; however, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smartship has expanded its repertoire of training through remote simulations of ship handling and port development projects as well as courses to provide online learning options.  In the last financial year, just under a quarter of Smartship’s total services were delivered remotely and the success of the remote platform has prompted a continuation of these services.

Now online and face-to-face, Smartship enjoys ongoing partnerships founded in major project such as Gladstone LNG, green field development at Amrun, Cairns channel widening, Eden cruise terminal, Brisbane International Cruise Terminal, Ultra Large Container ships movement assessments into Melbourne and Brisbane.

These projects, and the progressive nature of the shipping industry have expanded the demand for services such as pilotage assessment.  The simulator environment has proven to be an effective solution for undertaking robust and objective assessments of ship handling skills, Bridge Resource Management and trainability, for potential employers to work with job candidates.

Smartship has continued to support Tug Master training and contingency skills development and is working closely with the tug companies to expand the training available to Tug Masters.

Other substantial projects over the past 18 months, Smartship have included:

  • Expansion of training facilities to now cover over 1500 m2 including a new flagship lecture facility, a second tug simulator and space for new services (e.g. Vessel Traffic Services).
  • Upgrade of the tug simulator 4K display array and refit of computer hardware thus improving the fidelity, visual interface and the customer experience.
  • A state-of-the-art audio-visual system for the new lecture facility with seamless integration with multiple media sources.
  • Course redesign and alignment ensuring that courses remain current and focussed on customer needs.

As Smartship enters its second decade of service, we can reflect on our customers’ successes, and we note with satisfaction our own achievements.  We look forward to the dynamic and challenging work ahead and continuing to work with our customers to keep our ports safe and efficient.