Technology Influence in the Maritime Industry

As time changes, we keep on evolving and our technologies keep on advancing. Initially in the Maritime Industry, most of the work was done by man due to which more manpower was required on board. This leads to a greater risk of error as well as disasters. Now the use of technology has prevented that and has also provided additional benefits. Let’s have a look at how technology has resulted in the advancement of the shipping industry.

7 Technology Trends That are Shaping the Shipping Industry - SHM Blog
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Artificial intelligence refers to the demonstration of human intelligence by machines. They are programmed to function and have similar thought processing as humans such as problem-solving. According to statistics, the common use of AI in the maritime industry will lead to better navigation and better-insured safety as AI reduces human error but as a drawback, it will lead to a reduction in staff and maintenance.

Multiple established maritime companies like CMA CGM and Kongsberg are currently partners with tech giants like IBM’s Watson and Google, their main objective is to develop the autonomy of the ship sectors. Many start-up companies such as Sea Machine Robotics, Nautilus, Super Radio, and Flexport are trying to do the same as these tech giants.

We also have machine learning which enables machines with AI to learn and perform tasks. Its performance can be improved by progressively adding data, relying on patterns and inference. Due to the high reliance on manual inputs, the maritime industry is often seen as fallen behind in implementing ML.

Vessels that can navigate itself without being manhandled and with the help of robotic technologies are known as autonomous vessels. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), they have defined four different degrees of autonomy:

First degree – Includes the vessels which have automated processes but the onboard seafarers can operate this and are always ready to take control of the ship.

Second degree – Includes remotely controlled vessel with some seafarers on board

Third degree – Includes remotely controlled vessel with no crew on board

Fourth degree – Includes fully autonomous vessel

With the autonomous ships, the maritime market is expected to grow from $6.1 billion in 2018 to a stunting value of $13.8 billion by 2030. The IMO is currently checking into proposals of how the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) sector could and should be regulated according to these levels.

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Big data mainly refers to diverse, complex, and large sets of raw data, which can be bifurcated and analyzed to increase the understanding of trends and patterns. Hence it can be used to predict the behavior and ultimately deliver business results. Recently the maritime industry is trying its luck towards smart shipping. This means that companies have increasingly turned to big data.

However, there is still a major part of this industry within the sector unknown to many as the companies are being very protective of their data, which is prohibiting the connection of elements across the supply chain.

A ledger of digital records termed as blocks is stored in a public database called a chain. This blockchain concept leads the way to a safer, more secure, and transparent maritime environment as there is a major reduction in errors and preventing fraud mishaps.

(Read about the implementation of blockchain by MSC)

Multiple tests have been conducted by shipping companies in partnership with big tech giants like Microsoft, Google, IBM, and so on. Possibly the most popular blockchain test is the A.P. Moller- Maersk / IBM partnership, Trade Lens, which has over 94 organizations involved in driving open standards and efficiencies.

Blockchain and the Shipping Industry - Sea News Global Maritime News
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Now all data has been shifted to the cloud. This results to cost savings, increased speed, performance as well as security inurement. This very month, the Wallen Group declared that it will be using cloud-based software to streamline workflows across its ship agency business.

The implementation of smart technology is mainly to improve the overall ship management as well as its performance. Even major operations across the entire supply chain are advanced. Cooperation between maritime professionals and the benefits brought by these technologies can lead to a more efficient and safer sector.

The bot is a program that runs automatically in a repetitive loop or to behave in a particular manner per the input. The use of chatbots is to enable maximum electronic transactions with the least effort.

The interconnection of multiple systems has led to easier access to data which leads to the bigger risk of being compromised. There are strict actions that organizations can take to protect themselves such as advancing password settings and changing it regularly, providing cyber training, and performing regular IT checks.

As we know most of the systems of multiple devices are interconnected through sensors. Most of them would not normally have any internet access, for example, a lightbulb or thermostat. Hence, they make use of the internet to collect data, communicate, and share data in real-time.

Connected ships are already helping with the design and operation of the ships concerning IoT. One can make the industry more competitive by improvising on the communication between off and onshore, routes and fuel consumption optimization, this will lead to cutting costs.

According to a survey conducted in 2018, 65% of respondents claimed that they already use IoT to monitor fuel consumption and is expected to rise to 100% by 2023. Even though there is the unreliability of internet access in unfavorable weather conditions. Developers are trying to make some players reluctant to implementing IoT-based solutions.

A computer program that provides a virtual but dynamic representation of a physical object or system is called a Digital Twin. Its main objective is to compute simulations to gather a better insight to identify issues or non-optimal performance before implementation by using the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and big data.

The use of digital advancements is to enhance and transform the way a business operates and the services they provide. This relies on strategic innovation and the availability and quality of data. The future of the maritime industry must be digitally informed and as such digital cultures within maritime organizations will lead to fundamental shifts.

Robotics is a branch of technology that mainly deals with the designing, building, and operation of robots, which are maybe partly or fully autonomous. Artificially intelligent robots are a fusion of AI and robotics. The concept of autonomous vessels depends majorly on robotic technologies. Other applications include the cleaning of hulls and performing some surveying tasks.

(Read about the top 8 AI Technologies, revolutionizing the maritime industry)

Unmanned aerial systems or vehicles controlled remotely are called Drones.  The maritime sectors use drones to gather information and surveillance. But mainly have been used for transportation of cargo that means the loading, offloading and delivering goods. The application of drones reduces manpower and time consumption, which further leads to a significant reduction in shipping costs in the future.

Emerging Technology Trends in Shipping and Maritime Industry - Sea News  Global Maritime News
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We can conclude that the use of technology has some drawbacks like loss of jobs as everything can be automated but this also results in the lesser risk of occurrence of any disasters. Still, the use of technology is vital as nowadays everything has gone online and every sector of the industry has to keep up with it.

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