The shipping industry is changing to meet the needs of the marketplace. It is adapting to changes to stay cost-effective and competitive. It is a complex industry and changing with global trends and advancements in technology, fuel and materials.
The role of shipping in global trade is huge. Ship finance has provided businesses flexibility and reach to the import/export business. Over time new trends have emerged which make international trade smoother and improve efficiency. In 2020 these were included:
New standards of emission for maritime shipping
New maritime regulations regarding SOx emissions came into effect at the beginning of this year. With freight-carrying ships under the radar for heavy crude oil emissions, the IMO (International Maritime Organization) made changes in to keep a check on the emissions taking place at sea. It is now harder for shipping and logistics companies to comply with the rules as enforcement authorities are checking the ports.
Opting for low-sulphur high quality fuel will decrease SOx emissions even more. Sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere can contribute to climate changes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, premature death and acid rain.
Opting for superior fuel may increase costs but it is worthwhile.
Boost in demand for refrigerated shipped goods
The rising demand for refrigerated shipped products is driving shipping companies to gear up their resources.There are many reasons for this rise in consumer demand as well as stock prices. Consumers demand imported perishable foodstuffs. Research has shown that the growth rate of refrigerated shipping containers will be 10.2% by 2025. Compared to any other container market, the growth is higher.
Companies are using shipping containers, refrigerated trucks and climate-controlled warehouses to tackle this challenge.
Better support for blockchain
According to the World Economic Forum 2018 Report, blockchain may increase global GDP by 5% and trade volume by 15%. The reason is clear. Global supply chains already have large amounts of data coming from sensors, ships & trucks, business partners, inventory management systems and shipping pallets. First and third-party data is secured and visible from the blockchain. This is the reason for the growth of groups like Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).
In the supply chain, blockchain is trying to establish a new trend. It helps to remove intermediaries and add value.
Automation is making distribution centres more efficient
Automation of critical processes will benefit distribution centres and warehouses. The benefits will include:
- Warehouses will use robotic Automated Guided Vehicles (‘AGV’s) to reduce lifting and repetitive motion injuries by raising and transporting heavy shipments. AGVs can do this without any human intervention.
- The rate of errors will reduce significantly with machine vision inspections. These will include a reduction in the occurrence of shipping damages, incorrect and incomplete deliveries. Robotic order-pickers will be able to find bins and look for products with greater accuracy quickly, compared to humans.
The shipping industry is changing and new opportunities for businesses are growing. This means there will be some new trends:
Development of Megaships
The container shipping industry, in particular, has witnessed the development of megaships. This is due to improvements in ship technology, materials and structure. These large vessels offer lower transport costs.
New technologies which improve ships’ performance and monitoring are being developed. Soon, ships will have a large network of sensors to control different operations, including identifying faults and requirements for ship maintenance. This digital sensoring also means that ship fleets will be controlled by land-based fleet managers who can control the operation of major areas of the ship.
Shipping fleets are under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint across the globe . This will only increase in the coming future. The shipping industry and technology leaders are looking for opportunities to use new ways to address this. For example, low carbon fuel, improved voyage planning to save on fuels, better streamlined hulls, improved propeller designs, reduced friction using air cushions and even better hull coatings.
Solar and wind power
To power ship fleets more efficiently, the shipping industry is looking for renewable energy sources. Some of these have been tried. A Catamaran, named , has already circumnavigated the globe using the power of 29000 solar cells. Improved application of this technology in the commercial shipping industry using solar panels or wind turbines to power systems will reduce fuel overheads.
LNG as fuel
Interest in using Liquefied natural gas (‘LNG’) for commercial shipping is increasing. Many shipping companies that use LNG believe that it helps them to stay competitive in the market, spend less and ensure emissions are low. Compared with diesel engines, LNG helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25%. Oil-based fuels will still be widely used for many years but the use of LNG for specialist vessels may increase. This will lead to new technology advancements and larger adoption in the future.
Better future for marine technology
Marine technologies are trending in a challenging and exciting way. The marine industry is facing many technical issues and these technology solutions will help businesses of all sizes with opportunities to grow.