The technological revolution has already accelerated to another level and is now all set to elevate the Shipping Industry as well. As the recent times saw the entrance of some new technologies across the industry and few others are on their way to transform the operations of the maritime sector, let’s explore the upcoming technological advancements that hold the potential to transfigure the shipping and transportation industry.
Decentralization has proved to be a boon and shipping industry is making most out it. By reducing the cost of transactions, Blockchain allows the parties involved in the supply chain to save time and money. In addition, the Blockchain technology will play a major role in reshaping the industry’s future by reducing the paper-work, connecting the parties directly and carrying out real-time exchanges of documents and transactions that too through a secured channel.
AI is the new buzzword in the maritime sector. As the shipping industry is under a big transformation at a global level, Artificial Intelligence is already making things easier by seamlessly integrating new shipping logistics and communication technology to evolve the business model within the shipping industry. Further, with the help of new algorithms, the shipping industry can fully rely on AI for mitigating security risks and reduce the cost of operations to a great extent. Along with that, AI can help the maritime sector to respond to and work in accordance with the new environmental regulations and policies in a better way.
Big Data Analytics
Data is the new most important element of the present era. With multiple sources pouring data in abundance, Big Data Analytics will be an essential technology improving the operations of shipping industry by deriving a correlation between the data collected from various sources (for instance oceanographic data, maritime accident data etc) and applying relevant and new algorithms automatically on the establishment of any correlation between pieces of information.
With the world’s major industries dedicating the next decade for the reduction of their environmental footprints, the shipping industry will also have to watch out for the same. Green Technology can help the maritime sector to carry out its operations in a very cost-effective and environment friendly way. The latest alternative fuel-LNG is proving to be a smarter solution currently and may be the answer to the growing environmental risks caused due to the emission of hazardous gases during transportation.
Robots are creating new waves in almost every other sector. In the coming days, we can expect the use of robots in commercial shipping for two main purposes- for handling assets, and for inspection and maintenance of the environments which are not safe for humans. Along with robots, we may also see the evolution and development of sensors and remote control technologies and their effective implications so as to reduce human interaction.
Digitalization and Autonomous Ships
Another game-changer for the industry is the use of autonomous ships. The unmanned vehicles cruising through the sea are soon going to be a reality. The major benefit of the sailor-less system will be the reduction in human-errors that would further enhance the safety in the sea. These systems will also extensively change the way through which current cargo ships explore, monitor and interact.
Digitalization is further going to aid the communication process and improve the traffic-control system of the ships.
In June, this year the Japanese Yara and Norwegian Kongsberg came together to launch ‘Yara Birkeland’. The fully unmanned operations may start from 2020. ‘Yara Birkeland’ is also the world’s first zero-emissions, a fully electric and autonomous container ship. In addition, Norway has opened two more test beds for the testing of autonomous ships, while the UK Ship Register has also signed its first unmanned vessel.
Cloud-based technology is known for providing access to the data easily and therefore will prove to be a ground-breaking technology for the shipping industry. Right from cutting down the cost to preventing any data loss, offering remote access to corporate data to improving the communication channel between the staff at sea and land; cloud-based technology is just another asset for the shipping industry.
Advanced Materials- The Nano Scale
Till date metals have been the rulers when it comes to materials used in the shipping industry. While the metal will continue to be the most used material, the use of advanced materials will be a new thing to watch. Shipping companies may start utilizing more sustainable materials like high-strength steel, fiber, aluminum, carbon-fiber composites along with revolutionary self-repairing materials. We also expect the utilization of magnesium or calcium-nano particles for sturdier welds along with a new anti-corrosion coating formula for the protection of the vessels.
All the major technologies like cloud-based technology, robots, sensors, and other wireless networks can be utilized to their maximum capacity with IoT. IoT basically involves GPS and cloud-based database. With IoT, the operations can be carried out rapidly and all the other technologies can be implemented to serve the best of the purposes.
Moreover, the latest IoT solutions are providing excellent aid for the maintenance of the ships and will continue to evolve in the coming days. IoT solutions are being used to survey the health of the vessel whether off-shore or anchored at the dock. With IoT at the work to scan and identify breakdown areas, it is easier to maintain the vessel and reduce the risk of accidents and miss-happenings due to faulty areas.
In addition to performing surveys, IoT will be beneficial for maintaining inventory and creating a better security-check network.
With its implications in aviation and truck fleet inspection, Voice-controlled devices are going to touch the maritime sector very soon. While these devices can fetch the information quickly and easily, it will be interesting to watch their role in vessel and cargo inspection. Real-time inspection and hands-free documentation are already on the cards- thanks to voice-controlled devices that are ready to transform the inspection process.
Though Virtual Reality is a thing for creative industries, maritime sector is turning this technology into the latest model of training, engineering, and inspection. Certainly, there lies vast scope for the VR technology to change the maritime industry in a number of ways in the coming future.
Shipping sector is one which can avail the advantages of Drones to a great extent. Right from surveillance, photography, mapping, environmental monitoring to establishing wireless internet access and utilization during emergency services, drones have a huge scope for exploration and implementation in the maritime sector.
With so many key-drivers taking the charge, the big transformation is already at the gates and undeniably an exciting time, decked up with technological advancements is all what lies ahead for the Shipping Industry.
Sea News Feature, March 29