The CEO of Transas, a navigation systems and integrated bridge solutions company, has revealed his vision of how shipping will develop in the future, warning that carrier companies will have to embrace technology to keep up with market challenges.
In an article on Maritime Executive, Frank Coles (pictured) has expressed his belief that the natural progression for global shippers is to lease their own assets in the maritime industry and challenge the traditional maritime business model.
Coles said: “For the container and parcel delivery segments of the shipping industry, it is easy to imagine electronic cargo booking and digital port operations, with the e-commerce giants owning ships, owning ports or sections of them, controlling the complete logistics chain.”
This industry change has already started happening as container shipping lines CMA CGM, Maersk Line and Zim have all recently signed up with Alibaba to allow customers to book space on their vessels through the Chinese e-commerce giant.
Maersk Line also reinforced its stance on digitalisation at the 17th TPM annual conference, with Vincent Clerc, Maersk Line’s CCO, announcing that the company is to become “the integrator of global shipping” and embrace digital change.
Coles also warned that this kind of drive for “greater efficiency and accompanying disruption” might affect current business models and mean maritime industry players become more “endangered” than others.
He added that ships would have to be “more automated, more efficient and built for purpose” by means of modernized, robotic shipyards to keep up with the pace of technological change.
His comments come as a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that nearly half of all the work we do will be able to be automated by the year 2055.