We all have these moments, we all have that limelight moment that is all about the lights and not the lime; or better stated, in this world where about 23 people pointed at me, making me sound like an evangelist who is casting the bones, calling me tainted by the Afreet. They all stated that delusion was my middle name, to them today I say; ‘Hah!‘
The Arab News about an hour ago (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1553251/saudi-arabia) gives us ‘Saudi Arabia’s SAMI, Navantia in SR3.7bn military deal‘, which represents a few coins less than a billion dollars in green US pieces of paper, now gives us that “SAMI Navantia Naval Industries (SAMI-Navantia) signed a SR3.7 billion ($986 million) contract with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia to collaborate on combat system integration (CSI) on the Avante 2200 corvettes for the Saudi navy“, whilst on September 1st (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/09/01/change-is-coming/) where I wrote “SAMI has the option of building space well over 5 times the combined spaces that Damen, Spanish Navantia and Dearsan combined have. It changes the equation a fair bit“, in response to “As the links with Navantia matures, we see the option to cater to the needs of coast guards on several national levels and these are not the small players. Some might have noticed the small mention of ‘Offshore Patrol Vessels Market 2024: New Business Opportunities for Manufactures to Upsurge in Coming Years‘, yet Navantia and therefor SAMI are in the thick of that part of the equation“, 11 days later I would be proven correctly and this is just the start for SAMI. I understand that some might unite under the expression of ‘one Swallow does not a summer make‘, but the setting of preparation was too large, too much effort had been made in several directions by Saudi Arabia and a few foreign interested parties. More importantly, the EU gravy train decision makers have been taken out of the equation. As I see it, it is merely the first of several new ventures that we will see happen and each success is an almost guaranteed stage towards the follow up job which will be substantially larger than the previous one. It is here where we see what Walid Abukhaled, Chief Strategy Officer at SAMI, as well as Dr. Andreas Schwer, CEO of SAMI are capable of when two visionaries unite in a view that has a similar direction. One would consider that it feels really good being His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb this week in light of these successes, yet they are not merely successes, they are the beginning of milestones that thrust the abilities and capabilities of SAMI forward. The data was decently clear on that. It was not merely their ability, it was the hindrance that Heckler and Koch, Farbique Nationale Herstal as well as BAE Systems are finding operating under EU procedures, all whilst the procedures are nothing short of hypocrisy in the first place; a stage of what some call holier than thee ideology. I get it, there is nothing wrong with something like Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), yet it can only work if it is balanced and it is not, so now they merely achieved in losing commerce for the UK (and parts of the EU). There is nothing wrong with ideology, but if it is not dipped in some level of realism, they will do more harm than good. You cannot act in one direction and after that refuse to hold Iran to account who has been visibly ignoring and shunning agreements, and these pressures are also being applied by Turkey on other fronts, all these pressure points result in turmoil and stress and the market will respond to the needs of other governments requiring the hardware to do something about it, the SAMI deal might merely be the first deal for the Saudi Navy, but there are two parts there, first the Saudi Navy is growing, second is that once the knowledge is implemented other orders can be completed as well and it is that second part that will matter even more, as the governments require additional value out of their vessels, Navantia, if SAMI delivers could get a lot more value out of their Life Support services department and these overhauls add a lot of value, which works for SAMI as a facilitator as well. In this Navantia will get the stage of upgrading and give additional services to the preventive maintenance and remote technical assistance divisions of their yard. And it is more than facilitation for Saudi Arabia, as its knowledge of logistics is applied. Whilst we think that there is no news under the sun when it comes to predictive models to support strategic purchases, and optionally scripted and tested Machine Learning techniques to expenditure control and collaborative development with suppliers through common digital platforms most do not realise that in shipping it is very different from other industries. There are external inhibitors (weather) there are operational inhibitors (idle time) and logistical inhibitors (active manpower/resources), all stages on 2-3 levels that other industries never had. It is like Google being baffled by their answer of ‘What is Standard Deviation‘, whilst the answer does not compute with the customer who knows it to be: “the angular difference between magnetic North and the compass needle due to nearby sources of interference such as magnetically permeable bodies, or other magnetic fields within the field of influence“, it is there and the fact that the answer differs on the other side of the equation where we see a mismatch of standards and concepts. Whilst we laugh away the difference, some might realise that 2 miscommunications is enough to lose out on a billion dollars and then the life aquatic is no longer a simple comedy with Bill Murray, the stage of global maritime needs has changed and changed differently from most other industries. Navantia and a few other players have remained on top of it (as well as a few other serious players), it is here where we also see larger failings. We might see growth in a report like: “LNG Bunkering will register a 65.2% CAGR in terms of revenue, reach US$ 24400 million by 2023, from US$ 1200 million in 2017“, and that report might be completely correct, and now, even whilst I have not looked into that report (as it is not important to this article), how does that growth and equation impact idle time? Anyone who ignores idle time also ignores any captain confronted by it. when we consider “new mega-vessel, more capacity and a tremendous effort to improve competitiveness and efficiency are now hand to hand with a new collaborative mind-set, involving new technology to enhance connectivity that leas the seaport supply industry to the future” we accept a growing industry, yet the premise of “Idle time at waterside (arrival and departure), constitute 38 per cent of the total port stay for a container ship, which cost billions of USD per year to the shipping lines“, we get this from Ruben F, in his thesis ‘Identification And Measurement Of Idle Times Port Visit Of Container Ships Through An Explorative And Simulation Study: The Case Of Algeciras’s Terminal‘, his advisor was Jalal Ashayeri, PhD. It is in this document where we see: “The latest news is that in 2019 NYK line will test a crewless container ship from Japan to North America (BloombergTechnology, 2017) . This is not the only carrier working in this new technological model for container ship, however the future for in this industry is still being unwritten“; there is nothing wrong with the quote, yet everyone forgets that every harbour has one darling limit, the amount of berthing space available and when we consider that dangerous cargo is a second limitation we see a larger windfall for SAMI, because weapons (specifically ammunition) is a Class One dangerous cargo, which now also means that whenever a government upgrades its navy there is a shift in what is available, and therefor pushed idle time by a lot, consider ANY harbour and consider that due to government upgrades two berthing spaces are lost due to naval upgrades. Not every navy has its own long term harbour space at times; now consider the impact on idle time and having the software to manage that more efficiently, that is where Spain and Saudi Arabia get the larger windfall down the road, not merely implementing, but managing logistics and operational options through consultants and remote servers. What some saw last month is the ‘claim’ of cyber warfare capabilities was shy of one element. The element of cyber logistics and cyber upgrading as a facility becomes more and more important, especially when you realise that those in that field have little to no experience with naval logistics and what makes naval logistics a lot more different (as well as complex and difficult) from other logistics. Most of them have no experience with idle time algorithms. That oversight might make some people run to books and learn, but unless you have the knowledge of a harbour master with added quarter of a century experience you lose out, plain and simple, Navantia has that (as do some others) yet the larger group is absent that knowledge and this is where SAMI gets the added benefits down the road.
And that makes sense how?
Well, for that we need to realise that several sources mentioned almost a month ago that in the EU (Spain was separately mentioned as well) that there is a ban on double trucks and that these trucks are given the limit of double tractor-trailers to 63.5 tons or less. It gives a larger rise to capacity problems in harbours, even as some hide behind safety issues like in “There is insufficient rail capacity, and “we would have to bet on the growth” of rail if double tractor-trailers disappeared, according to the proposal, which suggests that weight reduction would improve safety“, to me it seems that there is a larger growing capacity problem and the speed that the lack of capacity is growing at is also worrying, the ships have grown a lot bigger and whilst harbours were deepened in many parts, the amount of berthing spaces (as well as cranes, and its capacity) have not improved in a decade, this now implies that ships are docked longer, it pushes idle time by a fair bit and in all this, ships require upgrades. So when Navantia gets the added SAMI capacity to do things faster, optionally having access to Saudi berthing locations, the two together will make for additional growth options for SAMI, that part was already clear on September 1st to me. My undergrad was in ships engineering and even as I never worked in that industry (IT was too appealing) I do know what impacts there are and I do see where SAMI could be heading. There are over a dozen governments all wanting to upgrade their navy, whilst the resources and skills are almost universally lacking. I think that this Union with Navantia and SAMI will spell a lot more options than anyone realised.
The fact that the US was eager to add Australian BCT to its resources shows just how short the supply is, it is not merely cyber defence, electronic warfare, technology, and intelligence. There is in the naval sense a lack of ICT solutions to a much larger degree, it is the combination that is hard to find and some solutions are antiquated to say the least. Most IT people always thought of naval cyber needs to be too mundane or too unappealing which resulted in a maritime applicable shortage in several nations. Navantia recognised that weakness for the Spanish navy two decades ago and it resulted in a Combat Management System (CMS) called SCOMBA, now that SCOMBA is highly sought after in many places and there we see the applicability that goes beyond the Spanish navy, as the links with SAMI deepens we see that Navantia has a product that has appeal to several allied players and Navantia via SAMI gets to upgrade the facilitation that it internationally has without losing ownership of its IP, which in this day and age seems a lot more important than it was a decade ago.
Should you doubt this, you could always try the $12.99 solution (at https://www.amazon.com/Amlong-Crystal-Including-Golden-Package/dp/B005DK1AQU) and see how fast you could unload one container with 21500 kg of IMCO 5.1 at Singapore harbour, I wish you a lot of luck and fair weather handing that information over to the captain of whatever SS Minnow he is in charge, I dare you to end that conversation: ‘Get it done today, or else‘, I will be selling popcorn with a big smile and a loud laugh at that event.