GAC has partnered with a Singapore start-up to develop drones for offshore deliveries, but how will this technology improve our services?
As countries gradually lift their Covid-19 restrictions, GAC is benefiting from the lessons learned and the technologies developed during the pandemic era.
In particular, the use of drones has proved to be a versatile and effective alternative to traditional ways of handling ship supply and related services.
In May 2020, amid severe global lockdowns, GAC began working with Singapore start-up F-Drones to develop drones capable of carrying 100kg of cargo over 100km out to sea to ships and offshore platforms.
Though many countries have now lifted most Covid-19 restrictions, and shipping protocols and operations are returning to pre-pandemic standards, the legacy of lessons learned remains. GAC has seen the long-term benefits of drone technology for its shipping and logistics services and is set to expand its investment.
For GAC and its customers, drones offer an attractive, cheaper and flexible alternative to launches and helicopters that traditionally supply vessels, particularly when it comes to on-demand or time-critical deliveries.
By eliminating the need to send an entire launch and crew out to deliver supplies, the risks to personnel associated with boarding vessels are eliminated. The comparatively small size of drones also enables them to land precisely on a platform that may have limited deck space. The technology has also been proven to work at night, enabling GAC to offer 24/7 access to ship supplies without having to dock.
Further, as drones are fully electric, they are environmentally friendly with a lower carbon emission footprint. The time savings are substantial too. GAC has been using drones to collect bunker fuel samples from vessels – an operation that typically takes two hours or longer with a launch, but only 15 minutes with a drone.
“We are always looking for technological developments that can benefit our customers and the wider shipping and logistics industries,” says Sofie Bager, Managing Director of GAC Singapore.
“Our partnership with F-Drones is a perfect example of our desire to help create state-of-the-art technology that will improve the welfare of crews, make shipping more sustainable and ultimately keep vessels moving.”
GAC is now scaling up deliveries of courier parcels and spare parts up to 10kg.
“We are really excited by the prospect of drones becoming a vital part of our service offering to our customers,” says Daniel Nordberg, GAC Group Vice President, Asia Pacific and Indian subcontinent. “They will enable us to start the turnaround process even before the vessel arrives in port, provide crew with all the documentation they need before their feet touch land, and take on last-minute requests as the vessel heads out on its next voyage.”
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