Drive through knowledge, part 1

17 April 2020

Take-aways from the Maritime Masters webinar "Current trends and opportunities global maritime"

If you weren’t able to make the first webinar with Maritime UK “Current trends and opportunities in Maritime”, we’ve pulled together some of the key take-aways from each of our speakers in this handy “Drive Through Knowledge” article. Please note that we’ve tried to keep the insights and takeaways as close as possible to how they were worded by the expert speakers.


Global market overview

INSIGHT: Shipping has a history of dealing with disruption, however it’s proved it can be a good thing as it can create an uptick in specific commodities and increases the demand for a particular infrastructure.

  • Operational challenges caused by major disruptions to regular shipping patterns persist in the current climate; crew changes, port acceptance, delivery of ships, and activation of contractual clauses, to name a few. There is also a general uncertainty around “strategic” investment decisions, which is slowing activity in the Sale & Purchase (S&P) market.

INSIGHT: Other industries, in comparison to the shipping industry, have a greater carbon footprint.

  • The carbon footprint of the shipping industry has dropped by roughly 15% since 2008 and continues to decline. The goal to reduce this to 50% by 2050 will remain one of the key issues in shipping beyond COVID-19, and one which we were seeing long before the pandemic struck. There will continue to be a focus on the levers around speed, making fleets more fuel efficient, and transitioning to alternative, more sustainable and environmentally friendly fuels.

INSIGHT: The scale of potential impact of the virus varies across individual sectors, as does the magnitude of potential recovery.

  • For the shipping industry in particular, pre-virus trends will remain important post-virus, and in most cases, they will become amplified.

The following mega trends will be prominent in the next decade, and beyond COVID-19:

  • Developing Economies;
  • Environment & Regulation;
  • Energy Transition;
  • Technology & Innovation.


What are ports doing to become smarter in the face of environmental pressures

INSIGHT: The COVID-19 pandemic could be a substantial driver in the adaption of new technologies, collaborative solutions and a greater utilisation of space and resources.

  • Cities in particular could benefit as the economy recovers and government’s implement digital initiatives that ease pressure on infrastructure and cut emissions.

INSIGHT: COVID-19 will accelerate digital innovation across the global economy.

  • New technologies such as drones, artificial intelligence (AI)-based surveillance, digital twins, autonomous freight and real-time dashboards are being utilised as industries search for new solutions.

INSIGHT: Ports will have to get smarter to manage ever increasing amounts of cargo, itself moved by smart technology.

  • Ports will have to utilise new technologies, such as digital twins. The digital twin relies on real-time data provided by an Internet of Things (IoT) system to assess performance and underline any barriers to optimization.

INSIGHT: An increase in smart technology may make ports vulnerable to cyber-security risks.

  • Ports are already vulnerable to cyber-attacks because the maritime part of the supply chain has so many data points, such as vessel navigation, cargo handling and container tracking. The more technology a port uses, the more this risk increases, and this will require greater understanding and increased investment in security, in particular AI resilience, post-COVID. Ports will have to speed up their own storage and processing innovations, and themselves find new ways to meet demand.


Adoption of new technology and its potential value

INSIGHT: For all the benefits it has produced, digitisation in shipping has often been too fragmented and not user-friendly enough.

  • At its most powerful, technology in business can streamline processes, increase productivity, reduce staff workloads, free up time and add a huge amount of commercial value. And although the shipping industry has sometimes been behind the curve, we believe there will be an exciting new leg of the sector’s digitisation journey post-Coronavirus.

INSIGHT: AIS technology, as used with Sea/net, has drastically impacted market transparency.

  • Improvements to accuracy in this particular technology have made this a more reliable tool. Sea/net alone receives 150,000 updates per minute allowing for better benchmarking, and since the outbreak of COVID-19 it has allowed analysts to track volumes of shipments from China to establish rate of recovery.

INSIGHT: Sea/contracts has seen a significant increase in usage over the COVID-19 period.

  • Using browser-based technology, such as Sea/contracts, reduces the reliance on local software and has the ability to share charter parties efficiently without the need for couriers or physical signatures.