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Shipping Slow to Go Digital but New Challenges Set to Spur Action

The shipping industry still has a long way to go towards the adoption of new technologies across its activities, industry experts said during this week’s Posidonia 2018 show held at the Metropolitan Expo in Athens, but they are confident that demand is bound to get stronger in view of new challenges.

Attending the five-day international exhibition, digital technology experts agreed that the shipping sector has been unable to keep abreast of the accelerating developments in new technologies.

Photo: GTP

Photo: GTP

Digitalization, cyber technologies, autonomous mobility and artificial intelligence (AI) will be the driving forces shaping tomorrow’s shipping industry today, experts said, while dozens of Internet service providers and AI specialist firms were present on the exhibition floor at Posidonia 2018.

“The way the shipping industry is approaching digitization is very piecemeal and very reactive. They will only request solutions for specific issues they face at any particular point in time as opposed to approaching digital transformation in a more strategic, long-term approach,” said Robert Squire, director at satellite services provider Thales Certus.

“Return on investment takes a long time to achieve so transformation needs to happen gradually in an intelligent way with a few quick wins to help you get there at some point in the future,” he added.

Photo: GTP

Photo: GTP

Digital experts concur that the adoption of new technologies in shipping is slow, but there is industry consensus that change is inevitable and that regulatory and competition forces as well as cybersecurity will be the catalysts for companies to adjust to the new realities.

“It’s a survival issue; whoever does not adopt new digital technologies in the coming years will be left on the sidelines,” said Mike Konstantinidis, CEO at Athens-based Metis Cybertechnology, adding that shipping companies across the globe are also lagging in digital savviness.

“The shipping sector is behind other industries in the adoption of innovative technological solutions and only recently the industry has seen a change with more companies requesting information and expressing interest in cyber technology solutions to help them reduce costs and the complexity coming from the increasing demand for the adoption of the new regulations, as well as to improve crew efficiencies and productivity,” he said.

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