- Identifying global trends within the maritime industry is critically important since such knowledge helps stakeholders select trend relevant technologies.
- The technologies currently driving change include blockchain, AI-applications, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital supply chains and logistics management.
- Green economy trends seek to mitigate climate change and reduce the world’s negative externalities by restructuring the world economy in support of such goals.
In a recently published report, World Maritime University studies and presents 10 trends influencing global commercial shipping.
10 influencing global commercial shipping trends
According to the Transport 2040 – Impact of Technology on Seafarers – The Future of Work report, identifying global trends within the maritime industry is critically important since such knowledge helps stakeholders select trend relevant technologies. The 10 trends identified in the report are as follows:
1. Increasing e-commerce and digital consumption
Shopping behaviors are shifting towards specialized channels that employ sophisticated targeting strategies, such as demographic categorizations using search engine optimization, social media marketing and media marketing where the statistics provided by these channels are used to promote and understand consumer culture.
2. Expanding role of the blue economy
Under the Blue Economy scheme, the main activities are fisheries; aquaculture; tourism (in coastal and marine areas); extractive offshore industries within and beyond national jurisdictions; freshwater generation; renewable energy offshore production; maritime transport, port, shipbuilding, shipping and other related services; and water disposal and other supportive services in the maritime field. Climate change and renewable energies are important topics of this trend.
3. Rise of new business models and ecosystems driven by technology
The technologies currently driving change include blockchain, AI-applications, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital supply chains and logistics management.
These developments require businesses to deal with cybersecurity, 6G technologies and smart contracts.
4. Expanding green economy
Green economy trends seek to mitigate climate change and reduce the world’s negative externalities by restructuring the world economy in support of such goals.
The path to establishing a low-carbon economy requires the reduction of fossil fuel-based energy consumption, implementing renewable energy sources, and where possible, embracing a zero-waste approach in production processes.
A new CE Delft analysis shows that ships can achieve 36-47% emissions reduction by 2030 compared to 2008 levels by deploying 5-10% zero or near-zero emission fuels, wind-assist technologies, and by ‘climate optimizing’ the speed of ships.
5. Increased geopolitical volatility
Forecasting geopolitical events and their risks is inherently impossible, which is why risk-hedging and management protocols are widely adopted to prepare countries for fluctuations in the financial and trade markets.
Recent global geopolitical disruptions have included Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine/ Russia crisis.
Future disruptions may emerge owing to factors such as the price of petroleum and commodities, new pandemics, the use of cryptocurrencies, wars and terror attacks.
6. Increasing role of technology regulation and governance
Defining standards for technology within the governance area is a complex process where topics such as diplomacy and science at local, national, transnational and global levels must be codified on a regulatory framework.
7. Widening economic and skills inequalities
The trend towards supporting skills-learning and personal opportunity through digitalization is especially important within maritime transport where addressing inequality will require the reskilling of seafarers and other employees as well as investment in assistive technologies, such as broadband Internet.
To remind, yesterday, an industry summit in Philippines to discuss the upskilling and reskilling of seafarers.
8. Increasing concerns about cybersecurity and digital transparency
Cybersecurity has become a growing concern for industries due to the increase of digitalization (IoT, blockchain, Cloud, ICT) and the associated cyber threats.
For instance, The Tokyo MOU PSC database, APCIS, suffered an outage in July 2022 due to the unforeseen reason, likely a cyber-attack.
The failure resulted the unavailability of the whole system for a couple of weeks and the restoration of full data for several months,
Allianz in its Safety and Shipping Review 2023 highlights its vital that investment in cyber risk education and security is not neglected at this time, despite economic and decarbonization pressures, as this risk has the potential to have catastrophic consequences, given the right confluence of events.
In support of this trend, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted Resolution MSC.428/98 regarding Maritime Cyber Risk Management in Safety Management Systems, which requires shipowners to address cyber risks and cybersecurity attacks in the design and deployment of Safety Management Systems (SMS). In January 2021, it became mandatory to deploy SMS and to consider cyber risks as potential threats.
9. Increased use of smart ships
The future ship will be smarter; data-driven; greener due to flexible powering options; and offer full onboard WiFi and digital connections through global satellites and mobile communications.
Such ships will also integrate with the wider global fleet as well as shore-side supply chains to enable Big Data Analytics (BDA), thereby providing information on a wide range of issues, including operations and maintenance costs, the reliability of the vessel, logistics, life cycle designs, energy consumption, emissions levels, and cargo monitoring.
In addition, smart ships will offer gains within efficiency and ease of transport, which is why stakeholders are likely to invest more in such ships.
10. Rising importance of autonomous ships
Ships will become situationally aware, self-governing and capable of doing tasks with limited external intervention (i.e. become autonomous). Currently, a wide variety of global projects have been established to build MASS prototypes
However, stakeholders may eventually consider investing in this full-scale transition due to the anticipated economic, environmental and operational benefits the technologies promise, although there are several inhibitors, such as safety and technical issues and social awareness of the potential negative consequences to employment.
The 107th session of the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 107) made further progress on the development of a non-mandatory goal-based instrument regulating the operation of maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) expected to be adopted by 2025.
Overall, it is anticipated that onboard and onshore seafarers (i.e. e-farers or operators) would need to be reskilled and upskilled to adapt to MASS.
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