Automation to Transform Global Shipping?


Martin Stopford, Non-Executive President of Clarkson Research and Author of Maritime Economics recently attended the Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) conference, in which he said that the business model within the shipping industry is wrong and needs to be changed to a ‘Smart Shipping’ model in order to increase the level of automated processes, according to IHS Fairplay.

Mr Stopford said that the current business model focuses more on ‘we trade ships, not cargo’ when it should be ‘we manage transport, not ships’.

Mr Stopford said: “A fleet of ships would be run the same way BMW runs a car factory.

“We changed models when the cargo owners walked away from the process of putting shipping capital onto their balance sheets. The new model became ‘neoclassical perfect competition’.

“The bulk trades switched to the spot market and we got into this ‘beat ‘em up’ game between the cargo owners and ship-owners. The whole logistics thing just disappeared. Customer relations became very, very adversarial.”

Esben Poulsson, Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, was also present at the conference and emphasised the importance of focusing on ‘tomorrow’s’ business environment, particularly when thinking about the technologies that can enhance the industry.

Covering a number of other potential advantages of technological developments, he considered how robots and drones could assist with work in dangerous environments including extreme temperatures or with toxic chemicals.

PTI is launching its own automation conference on June 8, 2016, which will focus on terminal training and simulation for increasing the efficiency of port operations, as well as the use of robotics and gamification in a terminal environment.

Read more about the conference here

In the shipping world, smart ships are becoming more important for port and terminal operations as this class of ship will have the capability to communicate via the use of Big Data technology.

The benefits from this level of communication could extend as far reducing vessel waiting-times, as well as berth idle times.

Feature: Smart Ships Talk to Smart Containers

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