Can maritime be “greener”?
Can technology solve the industry’s biggest problems?
What effect does continued globalization have on shipping?
And how can maritime make itself more visible and attractive to the next generation?
These big questions – and many more – came up at a fascinating event I recently attended, The International Maritime Organization’s World Maritime Day 2016.
The event focused on how the maritime industry is “indispensable to the world,” something I touched on in my first blog post for this series.
If you need more convincing of the pivotal role shipping plays, take a look at these new stats published in a recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report:
- In 2015, seaborne trade grew by 1.2% globally
- 80% of trade is seaborne
- Containerized trade increased by 2.4%
- Fleet capacity increased by 3.5%
The questions raised by industry insiders at the IMO event have the potential to chart the course of maritime in the years to come. And from my perspective, technology plays a big role in providing answers and driving innovation.
I’ve talked (in this post) about how operational efficiency can be gained from having better insight into operations through big data analytics, sensors, IoT and the like. Those same technologies can positively impact the environmental aspect of shipping, as info about fuel usage, engine performance, etc. can lead to emission reductions.
As for the globalizing economy – this fact reinforces the need for companies and vessels to stay connected through IT, to be able to communicate fully and quickly with personnel at land and on sea. It also shows how important IT will be to maintaining collaboration and operations with a labor force and supply chain that now reaches around the world.
Technology plays a huge role, too, in increasing visibility and preparing the industry for the next generation of workers. Millennials expect a highly connected, tech-savvy workplace that, at the very least, offers a level of technology on par with what they use in their daily lives. These digital natives can be a huge asset to the shipping industry, if the maritime workplace is ready to accommodate them.
And finally, to the question of if technology can improve shipping in the years to come. At the event, many in attendance spoke of “technology” in terms of engineering feats – making larger vessels, building bigger ports, etc. – but little attention was given to the INFORMATION technology that’s indeed changing and improving nearly all industries today.
Big data analytics that can lead to better business decisions; cybersecurity measures that can protect ships and goods; IoT that can increase visibility into operations; mobility tools that allow the workforce to collaborate from remote positions – there’s so many incredible possibilities opened up by information technology. It’s truly an exciting time to be working in and thinking about the maritime industry from this perspective. And I’ll be exploring this topic more in depth in my next blog post.
All in all, there’s a lot of really important questions swirling around the maritime industry – and technology will have a big role to play in shaping those answers. I’m excited to see where they take us.
Over the next few months, I’ll be discussing the process of IT modernisation in the maritime industry and hopefully bring to light some new ways of thinking about this industry. Join me on the journey, and please add your thoughts here on the blog space or by connecting with me on social media (LinkedIn). I look forward to interacting!
Anna Cebaseva, a CSC client relationship executive supporting global engagements in maritime, brings a new perspective to this historic industry. As the only services integrator with a dedicated maritime focus, CSC offers leading solutions to maritime organisations navigating the journey to the digital enterprise.