Who Will Be The Future Mariner? – An Update From The CMA Conference 2016.



The Annual CMA conference held in Stamford, Connecticut once again established it primacy as the largest and the most successful gathering of top shipping professionals under one roof.  The networking possibilities of this conference have been so huge that the attendance and the activities are growing exponentially.

Apart from the networking, the most important takeaway is the opinion of people who control the destiny of international shipping about the future, the technology to come and how the entire shipping scenario will look in the short term and long term.  This is an incredible opportunity to hear from the “horse’s mouth” about the destiny of the shipping industry.  A few electrifying future scenarios are listed below.

1. Who will be the future mariner or the ship employee?

A ‐ It is likely to be an IT person with some knowledge of ships and shipping.

2. What is the fate of bulk carriers and container carriers which are both at the nadir of their earning capacity currently?

A‐  Though the current depression is unprecedented, the industry has always been able to correct itself.  The date for such recovery is either 2017 or 2018.  Statistics was offered with regard to ships being scrapped, reduced orders for new ships, ships laid up etc.  All these contributing to a reduction in the ship bottoms available for the cargo to be carried.

3. What about tankers?

A‐ Tankers are likely to have a good run for atleast 3‐4 years more.  There is always the risk of excess shipbuilding to take advantage of the better freight in the tanker industry.

4. What about Oil Prices? Are they likely to go up or stay at the current prices or go down?

A ‐ The likelihood of going to the very high levels seen in the past seems highly unlikely.  The prices may go up some more only if the oil producing nations curtail their production in enlightened self interest.

5. What new things will happen in technology?

A‐ Many things are set to happen including selective crewless ship which will be controlled like the aircraft from the port.  Almost total control of the vessel will be from shore which is why the people onboard are not going to be engine specialists or maintenance specialists or even navigation specialists.  Team sitting ashore will completely control every aspect of ship management and ship movement.  Most of these developments are not imminent but likely to take place in the next 10/20 years.

6. What changes will take place with the management of the shipping industry itself?

A ‐ Equity investors have entered this field which has got both positives and negatives.  One thing is certain, it will never be what it has been all these decades.  Matching of cargo and ships will be carried out online as also purchasing fuels.  The technical professionals will become important.

Equity investors are essential since this industry needs massive amounts of money.  Having said this, the industry is going to need the cleverest of people perhaps at a much higher level than the training and qualification currently available.  Clever people will run smart ships and produce high returns to the money managers.  This may be the scenario of the future. Perhaps the airline industry will provide a model.

On the social side, the conference, as usual gave away many awards.  The prestigious Commodore Award was given to Mr.Paddy Rodgers of Euronav NV.  The past Commodores who are themselves very eminent leaders of the shipping industry were present and in a function marked with tradition, fun and lots of goodwill.  If network meant rubbing shoulders with someone, it really happened here.  The corridors were so crowded that bodily contact was inevitable.

All in all, a very enjoyable, useful conference.

Best regards,


We thank Dr. Vis and Viswa Lab for sending us an update about the CMA Conference.  Follow MFAME for more interesting updates from the CMA Conference and IMarEST – Condition Based Maintenance Conference.

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