The maritime satellite communication market registered a CAGR of 9% over the forecast period 2021 - 2026. The maritime sector plays a vital role in the global economy. According to APSCC, the current maritime industry comprises up to 80,000 merchants, cruise, and government vessels at sea and more than 1400 offshore oil rigs. To attain improved connectivity between the land and sea operations, the need for satellite-based communications is paramount.
- Innovations in the satellite industry have been overwhelming, with the launch of high-throughput satellites using Ku-band, aimed at the aeronautical and maritime markets. Further, the ongoing deployment of high-throughput satellite (HTS) systems, such as Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES, ViaSat, Eutelsat, and Telesat, has been instrumental in driving the satellite capacity supply. Moreover, it is anticipated to be around 15 times more over maritime regions over the next three years. This total supply is expected to augment the growth of the market studied.
- Technological advancements that aid the market include - the introduction of high-speed broadband modems, gyro-stabilized ground terminals, multi-frequency dish antennas, and the advent of all-plastic designs that are more resilient to the offshore harsh environmental conditions. Some of the applications that are gaining increasing popularity include - GMDSS services, personal locator beacons, and, more recently, satellite emergency notification devices. Further, significant investments and research have been reported to enable improved infrastructure across vessels, thus leading to technological upgradation and supporting the growth of the market studied.
- The need for satellite communication is further driven by the increasing number of IoT-connected and sensing devices, which include autonomous shipping, fleet management, performance computing, and cybersecurity applications. Additionally, the regulatory incentives on safety communications, crew, and passengers demand enriched media content, and newly developed concepts related to smart shipping are the key factors encouraging maritime operators to adopt the latest generations of satellite communication systems.
- Additionally, major vendors in this market are also innovating their offerings to create a unique differentiation from its other competitors. For instance, in 2019, Iridium Communications launched its Certus maritime satellite communication service. It can be used for the internet of things applications and critical communications for first responders and search and rescue organizations.
- Owing to the contagious nature of COVID-19, the use of satellite communication allows the quarantined diagnosis without increasing the amount of face-to-face contact between doctors and patients. However, the ongoing pandemic situation negatively affects the international trade and shipping industries due to its heavy dependency on travel and human interaction.
Key Market Trends
VSAT Technology is Expected to Occupy Significant Market Share
- VSAT technology has been leveraged to monitor vessel speeds and fuel consumption, realizing benefits in faster repair times, preventative maintenance, fuel-saving, and real-time navigation. Large shipping vessels and oil rigs have adopted VSAT to improve safety and operational intelligence. While cruise ships have equipped their ocean liners with VSAT equipment to meet the growing demand for connectivity as passengers bring more devices aboard.
- Modernizing ship management systems to improve engine and systems maintenance, navigation, weather information, and cargo tracking is gaining momentum in maritime VSAT applications. Also, naval VSAT helps vessels to report in advance and order supplies and spares ahead of time to ensure cost-effectiveness.
- A significant driver of the VSAT market is the launch of new HTS constellations explicitly targeted at the maritime sector, putting the capacity issue and its related challenges of bandwidth firmly in the past. For end-users, HTS lowers the cost of capacity per MB, which is projected to make VSAT service more economical, along with higher data rates and more affordable, compact terminals and antennas.
- The VSAT technology has witnessed an increased uptake by medium and small vessels, which has led to operators' willingness to migrate from MSS to VSAT solutions. Furthermore the increasing demand for higher bandwidth and the higher cost of MSS services has led to the higher adoption of VSAT services in all over the world.
- Currently VSAT systems include - e-mail, voice, and messaging applications and offer a cost-effective solution for these low- and medium-data applications. Furthermore, with the demand for new applications, such as video conferencing and video surveillance, the demand for higher bandwidth is further anticipated to increase.
Asia Pacific is Expected to Register Highest Growth Rate
- According to Asia Pacific Satellite Communication Council (APSCC), Asia is expected to account for USD 800 million for satellite communication services by 2021. This is expected to be a key driver for the market for connectivity/communication for the maritime sector.
- The growing concern for the safety of people and the environment has impacted the growth of several efficient mission-critical operations with suitable tactical communication systems. In addition, the growing economies in the region have increased the amount of capital expenditure for mission-critical operations.
- China is expected to be the major contributor to the market, owing to the strong trade influx, coupled with it being a key market for Asia passenger vessels. These trends are buoyed by Carnival Cruise Lines, creating a dedicated Chinese brand and Royal Caribbean announcing 2 out of 3 of its' Quantum-class vessels entering into the region. Thus, driving the demand for connectivity at sea.
- India and Japan are expected to continue to exhibit significant growth with increased offshore activity, trade, and investments in defense security in the maritime sector. All these factors are expected to contribute to the growth of the market in the region.
The Maritime Satellite Communication market is highly competitive and consists of several major players. In terms of market share, few of the major players currently dominate the market. These major players, with a prominent share in the market, are focusing on expanding their customer base across foreign countries. These companies are leveraging strategic collaborative initiatives to increase their market share and increase their profitability.
- July 2020: Marlink completed its strategic agreement with Stolt Tankers to provide an upgrade in bandwidth and to enable greater digitalization of its operations, focusing on quality, safety, security, and client satisfaction. This upgradation of bandwidth will deliver greater efficiency in the IT management processes of Stolt Tankers.
- April 2020: KVH Industries, Inc announced to add the Mediterranean region under its KVH Elite services for unlimited HD-quality streaming onboard yachts. Moreover, this service enables people on board to use their favorite apps for streaming popular HD movie and TV content, music with no data usage limits.
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