The shipping industry has seen rapid development over the course of the past few years. With the tremendous growth in technology, it has been crucial to incorporate those changes in the industry as soon as possible. 2018 has been one of the most important years for the shipping industry.
There have been numerous significant initiatives in the industry including the development of the cargo handling capacity at major ports, reduction of the average turnaround time of ships, amongst others. On the global scale, shipping has had an interesting year. With the election of the new American president and other changes like the Brexit, the global shipping industry has seen several new mergers and initiatives that will be implemented in 2019.
Here is a look at the various trends that are expected to affect the shipping industry in 2019.
Shipping Trends for 2019
1. Blockchain technology
Blockchain technology enables users to keep a list or a record of transactions, in a chronological order. This tech was originally created as a supporting system to organize digital currency and its transactions. The blockchain technology allows digital information to be distributed but not copied, by several users on a platform. It can be said to be a form of the virtual ledger that records virtually everything that has value if it is programmed to do so.
The technology also has potential uses in the shipping industry. Blockchain can be used to improve global trade and digitize the supply chain by keeping a transparent ledger where multiple companies can see the records of transactions and thus work towards improving them.
Blockchain technology is expected to replace the previously-used system of the shipping industry of bills and transactional documents. It will instead act as a secure online mechanism for the trade of goods. Since the technology is decentralized, it also makes it more efficient and completely transparent.
2. Elastic logistics
The term refers to the ability of a given logistics chain to expand or shrink, thus aligning with the demands of the customers. Elastic logistics help in effectively meeting market fluctuations and also provides a customized solution to requirements like warehouse management, priority deliveries, cost control, and geographic restrictions. Elastic logistics minimizes the fluctuation caused by the supply and demand interplay.
It ensures that the deliveries are carried out efficiently and well within the given time frame. Elastic logistics will help in enhancing customer experience, providing agility to operations and speeding up the routine, connecting all business processes transparently and will ensure real-time visibility.
3. Cyber and Electronic Warfare
Cyber warfare includes operations that aim to disrupt computer networks, exploiting or defending military information systems or computer systems. Electronic warfare deals with manipulating electromagnetic waves through directed energy, to either deceive or protect systems.
The increasing threats to cybersecurity in ships can result in out-and-out cyber and electronic warfare, which will be especially influencing shipping and transport.
4. Consolidation Will Continue
Consolidation has been a continuing trend since the last couple of years. Over the years, consolidation has led to mergers and acquisitions, creating a stronger relationship between shipping companies. This technique ensures that the most efficient and competent companies stay in business, flushing out the incompetent and smaller ones. In times of difficult market conditions and the global recession, consolidations will be helpful.
Consolidations can result in reduced costs, enhanced efficiency and improved services. These trends must be regularly monitored, as consolidation results in reduced competition and market power abuse.
Creating new alliances and mergers in the face of a financial crisis can help minimise the damage. Alliances allow companies to operate with reduced costs through asset sharing. Alliances also implement protective measures to protect the shipping industry. Strong partnership among two shipping companies will help strengthen their operations and will enable them to provide more efficient and extensive services to their customers.
5. Smart Ships
With the rapid development in technology in all sectors, the demand for more efficient equipment in the shipping industry has risen. The concept of smart ships includes making ships autonomous so as to maximise competency and ensure smooth functioning of tasks.
These unmanned vessels, also known as smart ships, will soon be completely autonomous. Commercial use of such vessels will maximise profits for the shipping industry. This technology has peaked the interests of numerous investors worldwide, owing to its potential applications and benefits.
Since there will be no use of manpower aboard such vessels, the ventilation systems, crew accommodations and other elements meant for the ship’s crew can be eliminated. This will make the ship faster and lighter and will minimise the energy and fuel that is consumed.
6. Advanced Materials
Metals have predominantly been used to build ships and their structures since a long time. Due to the rapid advancement in technology, the use of alternative advanced materials is replacing the traditional metals. Materials like polycarbons and fibres and other carbon fibre composites are in demand due to the progress in nanotechnology. Replacing metal hulls of ships with ones made with fibre reinforced composites. These parts made using alternative materials are lighter than their metal counterparts and are also much more durable and cost-efficient. Since the alternative advanced materials are considerably lightweight, they increase the speed of the vessel thus reducing its overall fuel consumption.
7. Energy Management
Reducing the energy consumption by a vessel has become the topmost priority for shipping companies globally due to the rise in carbon emissions. The most convenient way of reducing unreasonable fuel consumption by ships is to decrease the speed of the ships so as to reduce fuel consumptions and also reduce the carbon emissions by ships.
It is imperative that the shipping companies establish a broader corporate management policy, reduced fuel consumption and enhanced ship efficiency. The shipping crew must also take care of a few things for energy management aboard a vessel. These steps include speed optimization, efficient cargo operation and hull monitoring, and maintenance.
8. Marine Biotechnology
Marine biotechnology deals with the study of marine plants and animals. Continuous traffic of ships in the ocean since numerous years has resulted in adverse effects on marine life. Shipping companies have been making a conscious effort to reduce making a negative impact on life under the sea. Reducing fuel emissions and waste from all the ship is an important step in protecting the marine life.
This environment-conscious perspective is set to drive the shipping industry over the next years as well.
Development in technology in the shipping industry has given rise to numerous opportunities for its technical applications. Shipping is set to advance into a new chapter of technological superiority in the upcoming years and 2019 will be the year that the global shipping industry starts progressing towards newer milestones.
As the environmental regulations of the IMO draw nearer, boat manufacturers and shipbuilders alike are taking innovative approaches to reduce the carbon footprint of ships. What are your thoughts about the new trends of the shipping industry? Share your views in the comments section below!