Container ship in export and import business and logistics. Shipping cargo to harbor by crane. Water transport International. Aerial view

When Intel acquired vision-based collision prevention company Mobileye for $15.3 billion in 2017, the blockbuster deal underscored Israel’s prowess in smart transportation, particularly in the autotech sector. But automotive isn’t the only traditional industry being disrupted by the Startup Nation’s thriving technology ecosystem.

As Israeli innovation in fields like cybersecurity, IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence fuels new advances in smart transportation and mobility, the global maritime industry is leveraging Israel’s strength in these domains to make the world’s ports and shipping operations smarter and more efficient.

According to Start-Up Nation Central, companies active in the marine industry account for only 54 of the 6,218 startups in Israel – but the country’s burgeoning maritime tech ecosystem has seen significant growth in recent years, and as shipping and other seafaring industries look to harness technology to optimize logistics and improve operations, that growth is set to accelerate dramatically.

From Michnaf’s use of drones for inspecting shipping vessels to Totem Plus’s advanced automation and navigation systems, Israeli solutions are already bringing high-tech wizardry to the ports and shipping industry. The development of maritime technologies has been accelerated by Israel’s vibrant innovation ecosystem, with governmental, military, academic, and R&D institutions supplying significant resources, talent, and institutional know-how. From the Haifa Research Center for Maritime Policy and Strategy in the country’s north to the Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences in the Red Sea port city of Eilat at the southern tip of Israel, maritime stakeholders are benefiting from cutting-edge research and symbiotic relationships between the public, private, and academic sectors.

Industry-leading startups include:

  • Pick a Pier, which is working to create smart marinas by making it easier for boats to dock efficiently through a berthing-rental marketplace, and AiDock, which enhances the once-cumbersome customs clearance process through AI algorithms.
  • Windward, a global leader in maritime risk analytics that helps organizations, including marine insurers, governments and law enforcement, understand maritime risk, enabling them to take better actions to manage it.
  • Orca AI provides intelligent navigation tools for the maritime industry to prevent collisions. Founded in 2018 by two experienced naval technology experts, Yarden Gross and Dor Raviv, Orca AI’s technology helps ships get an accurate, real-time view of the environment by combining new sensors with existing onboard systems to aid crews in making more informed navigation decisions, improving safety in crowded waterways. Designed specifically for the maritime environment, their innovative system is the first of its kind for the commercial shipping industry.

As Israel looks to further develop its maritime technology sector, theDOCK, an innovation hub founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, is working with early-stage companies to bring their solutions to market. The initiative has already garnered global attention for its initiatives to accelerate the development of maritime solutions and to connect legacy players with the latest technologies. A prime example: International shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk, one of theDOCK’s corporate partners, has worked with the organization to harness Israeli technology for enhancing logistics. Which maritime startups will be next to sail the industry toward a more innovative future? Thanks to Israel’s renowned innovation ecosystem, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll be anchored in the Startup Nation.