Maritime transport is regarded as the lifeblood of international trade. This is because over 80% of international trade goods such as raw materials, manufactured products, petroleum products, foodstuffs, livestock, and equipment are all transported through the sea. As the global economy continues to expand and as the demand for maritime transport continues to increase, the stakeholders in the sector have to come up with ways that increase productivity, promote safety, and saves time.

The adoption of rugged tablets in transport and logistics has revolutionized the sector in many ways. Rugged tablets have many beneficial features among them being the ability to withstand environmental conditions, powerful processors, mobility, a variety of accessories, and the ability to support different communication networks. All these benefits have made it possible for businesses to streamline their processes and increase their productivity.

Below, we discuss the usefulness of rugged tablets in maritime transport.

  1. Vessel Tracking

Most rugged tablets have an inbuilt GPS which makes it possible for businesses to track and monitor their vehicles, ships, or trucks. In maritime transport, vessel tracking is important because it helps to identify the location of the ship, its direction, and in mapping the ship’s route. Vessel tracking is not only beneficial to the coast guard of different nations, but also to the ship owners and the crew.

With the growth of the internet, many vessel tracking software have incorporated internet connectivity into the software making it possible to have real-time updates. To increase the efficiency of vessel tracking, the older versions of equipment used for tracking vessels can be replaced with the rugged tablets. The rugged tablets have powerful processors and large storage which means they can support the vessel tracking software without downtime. With the use of the GPS integrated into the tablet, there are real-time insights in matters such as the routes to avoid and the ones to take.


  1. Ship Maintenance

Mechanical equipment and machinery need regular maintenance to prolong their lifespan. Failure to maintain vessels can lead to major accidents, which will not only injure the crew members but also cause extensive damage to the vessel, impact negatively on the environment and cause massive business losses. This, therefore, calls for an enhanced monitoring system within the vessel, which allows instant data collection from the structures of the vessel, performs risk analysis, and relays the information to the crew members. The monitoring system should also be fitted with the relevant sensors to monitor various environmental factors and alert the crew.

By integrating rugged tablets with the monitoring system and sensors, the tablets can be used to monitor the structures of the vessels and other environmental factors such as depth, temperature, pressure, and current. Having real-time insights on such parameters makes it possible to repair mechanical breakdowns as soon as they occur. It also prevents the vessel from potential damage when the environmental factors exceed the recommended range.

  1. Shipping and Logistics

Rugged tablets have become key components in logistics and transport. They have reduced the amount of paperwork involved during the shipping of goods and eliminated human errors that would occasionally occur during the manual input of the data into the inventory system. When the goods are being loaded into a container for shipping, the warehouse attendant will scan the inventory using a rugged tablet with an inbuilt barcode scanner. This will minimize data entry errors and the time required to record the details of the inventory. As the goods are being scanned, the inventory management system is updated in real-time.

Similarly, when the goods reach their destination, the logistics team will scan the goods and quickly determine what has been delivered and update their inventory in real-time. Using rugged tablets in shipping and logistics makes the staff to be more efficient and makes it possible to deliver the right goods to the right destinations.

  1. Port Management

Ports are generally busy places. Various activities such as cargo loading and unloading, warehousing, monitoring incoming and outgoing vessels are always taking place during the day and at night. With so much going on at the same time, it is easy to lose ground leading to inefficiencies such as lost shipments and delays. To effectively manage these activities, port supervisors and staff need reliable devices like rugged tablets that can withstand the environmental conditions and provide optimum visibility during the day and at night.

Rugged tablets can also be mounted on industrial forklifts and cranes, to efficiently move the goods within the port. Rugged tablets are built to withstand the vibrations from the forklifts so there is no concern that they will be damaged. They can also support different mounting solutions which means they can be mounted on walls for easy access by the other port attendants.

  1. Salt Fog Resistance

One major characteristic of the maritime environment is the presence of salt air which corrodes electronics and other equipment. Using normal consumer tablets in such an environment is counterproductive because you will always have to buy new ones within a short while. Rugged tablets are therefore a better alternative because they are built to withstand extreme environmental conditions.

When buying a rugged tablet that is intended to be used in a maritime environment, it is important to check whether a salt fog test has been conducted on the tablet and that it has the correct IP rating to withstand the corrosive environment. The ports of these rugged tablets should also be sealed to prevent the salt fog from getting into the tablet and damaging the internal components. Using a rugged tablet specially designed for maritime environments will prevent occasional work disruptions and save you money.



  1. Communication

As marine traffic continues to increase, the need for enhanced communication between all the stakeholders in the maritime chain cannot be overemphasized. Efficient communication is important because it improves safety, makes it possible to make critical decisions instantly, and contributes to better management of the ports.

Rugged tablets have various connectivity features such as Wi-fi, 4G LTE, GPS, and the Internet. All these features make it possible for vessels to communicate with each other on safety issues. In addition, vessels can access real-time updates on weather changes, location, and instructions from the port control unit.

Rugged tablets also streamline communications at the port where it would be impractical to give verbal instructions. With rugged tablets, reports, documents, data, and instructions can be shared seamlessly between the staff, therefore, increasing efficiency and productivity.

As discussed above, the use of rugged tablets in maritime transport can facilitate smooth logistics, improve the safety of the crew, enhance communication and streamline port activities. Their specialized features make them well suited to support complex maritime applications and withstand a variety of environmental conditions which saves you money in the long run.