Technology, the driving force behind the future maritime industry

For many years, the shipping industry has played a major role in expanding business and trade. It is the most effective trade and has a significant impact on the global economy. For centuries, shipping companies have transported goods in every way. However, the growing population has increased exponentially and exports in the global market, and this intensity is expected to continue. 90% of the global market is transported by ships. It was the same centuries ago. But not as before, but the demand for the transport of goods through ships has increased. Currently, more than 50,000 ships are sailing in international waters.

Marine commodities are always traditional transport and corresponding traditional transport and corresponding traditions, carrier, radio signals, and many more. However, with the introduction of revolutionary technology and ideas, it is essential to provide more rapidly and more efficient trade services to trade industries.

A wide range of decision support systems to optimize shipping operations, information systems for logistic assistance of ports and tools for policymakers are the legacy of the recent digitalization of shipping. Due to the increase in requirements in this field and the advancement of technology, many shipping companies as well as ports are moving away from traditional methods and are being digitalized. Digitalization is already changing the operations and methods of shipping companies. There are a number of comparison techniques that can be improved in the event of technological advance shipping. Introducing alternative fuel machines have been prepared to introduce a huge change in manpower, new and improved materials. Considering the impact of modern technology on the marine industry, hope to present current trends that make a significant contribution.

Digitalization of Shipping
Digitalization of Shipping

Autonomous ships and Robotics for future maritime industry

The world’s most leading shipbuilding companies have already built ships that can be controlled by remote control. Over the past few years, companies such as the Rolls-Royce Marine and Japanese ship giant Nippon Yusen have planned to launch long-distance and automated ships. These ships will remain in crew to launch, but as technology advances, some ships may become unmanned.

Some companies have been building fully automated ships from the beginning, while other start-ups are developing semi-autonomous systems for use on existing vessels. What is certain is that “autonomy” may become a vital part of everyday operations.

Yarra Burkland plans to launch the world’s first electric cargo ship by 2018, and by 2020 the ship will be fully autonomous. According to the Wall Street Journal, it saves 90% on operating costs per year due to lower fuel costs and longer service life.

According to surveys, 80% of global maritime accidents are caused by human factors. It is pointed out that such accidents are due to mistakes, omissions, lack of skills, stress, and other factors. With the advancement of technology, there are robots as well as systems that assist in certain tasks of the vessels. It can easily perform many complex and risky tasks with minimal errors. Robotics has been systematically supporting the shipping industry for many years.

Today’s robots are used for packaging, delivery, testing, and firefighting. Since robots work product efficiently and without rest, all the activities of the shipping industry are expected to be done through these robots. Larger robots have been used before, but smaller robots are designed to save space and move more easily. They are equipped with artificial intelligence and data storage sensors that are easily integrated with mainstream systems so that relevant parties can carry out their activities. Research into the use of robotic technology to build ships is nearing completion.

Internet of ThingS (IoT) for the future maritime industry

Digitization allows for more dynamic technology applications such as big data, IoT, Blockchain, and cloud computing. Provides the ability to collect process and exchange the latest data in the shipping industry. It basically includes GPS and cloud-based database. They are connected to sensors, robots, and other parts of the ship via wireless media, so they can track new ones, connect to the ship, and identify if there is maintenance. This has the potential to provide the highest quality service to the customer.

Maersk is heavily investing in IoT and Blockchain technology. It has been able to improve transparency, security, and cost efficiency for maritime transport. They also using a digital platform called RCM (Remote Container Management) for their short-term supply chain management.

Process of RCM system
Process of RCM system

Blockchain is simply a digital ledger. Many industries apply this technology to their field. Through this, it is possible to completely eliminate or gradually reduce the paperwork of a large part of the shipping industry. This blockchain provides connectivity with various parties who have not been able to connect before and facilitates the collaboration of other business opportunities. And we can track what we want and where we want to go. This technology is the most efficient method for managing logistics. It also helps to increase the transparency of the supply chain. If the shipment is messed up, the blockchain will show you exactly where it happened. And store everything in one ledger so it can be easily done by all parties. Leading logistics management companies UPS and DHL use this technology for their operations. It has many features to reduce time wastage and increase efficiency. With the involvement of this technology in the port sector, it transforms and disrupts the documenting, validating, and securing processes. As blockchain enables digital wallet facilities, a monetary transaction has become faster, secure, and easier. This technology becomes a new trend and it can simply be called an influencer of the future supply chain and shipping industry.

VR & AR technology

Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can be described as a new technological trend. It provides training in equipment and practical training in dealing with certain situations. These technologies can artificially create realistic events via simulators that the practitioner can actually get that experience and improve their knowledge. Warehouse management, Quality control, and the shipbuilding industry are using applications of these technologies for improving their efficiency and improve the quality of their services. Using this technology, e-commerce platforms like Amazon have been able to minimize errors during operations.


When it comes to digitization, cybersecurity should be a priority. Since 90% of the goods transported for world trade are done by ships, a large amount of information is exchanged. This technology is also used to prevent cyber-attacks and to prevent interference from other parties. With the introduction of automation & autonomous ships, the number of cybersecurity risks has increased. Therefore, in the design of these vessels as well as smart ships, the designers work to provide security tactics that can be easily connected to the ship as well as the shore.

With the advancement of technology, attention is being paid to the possible impact on the environment. Therefore sustainable approaches are being applied to this field. It can be considered as very good quality. Organizations such as the IMO have introduced policies that reduce environmental damage. Meanwhile, reducing the amount of sulfur contained in ship fuels is a recently implemented eco-friendly policy. There is also a tendency towards many technology-friendly eco-friendly alternatives. Below are some of them,

  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen has built the first fully wind-powered RORO ship; it reduces carbon emissions by 90% and can carry up to 7,000 vehicles. With wind power, it can travel at speeds between 10-12 knots.
  • Hurtigruten shipping is working to launch the world’s first hybrid-powered passenger ship called Ms. Roal Amundsen. It can carry up to 530 people, reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 20%.
  • Eco Marine Power (EMP) Pvt introduced the automated control and monitoring system. It’s integrated with existing ship-based systems.

The advent of electronic and autonomous vessels reduces fossil fuel consumption and contributes to reduce carbon emissions. Leading shipping companies are focusing on eco-friendly and renewable fuels, and hope to develop these concepts by applying sustainable measurements.


Technology and digitization have become commonplace today. In the shipping industry, some manual tasks have become automated due to the impact of technological advances. It can be considered as a trend that can be seen all over the world. Technology is changing day by day and over the years it will become an input to the future of contemporary concepts under its influence. Used effectively, it can undoubtedly be the driving force behind the future of the maritime industry.



Author: Ishara Madushanka

BSC. (Hons) Maritime Transportation Management and Logistics.



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