Digitalisation technologies will transform maritime industries on a global scale over this decade in positive and negative ways
Increasing levels of autonomy, 3D printing, adoption of internet-of-things (IoT) and artificial intelligence will have considerable impacts on shipping over this decade.
This is according to DNV GL’s Technology Outlook 2030, which focuses on accelerating technology development and how digitalisation will impact maritime.
DNV GL Group senior vice president, technology and research director Pierre Sames expects new technologies will transform shipping business over the next 10 years. “From automation to artificial intelligence, robotics to advanced algorithms, these new technologies will be woven into our lives and business models as never before,” he says.
These impacts are already being felt in shipping sectors as more vessel owners embrace automated systems, onboard sensor networks and analytics for performance management.
Ship operators, owners and managers are also using high-speed internet to improve environmental and business performance, says Mr Sames.
He thinks digitalisation creates both opportunity and risk. Opportunities come from owners adopting sensor-based fleet services, condition-based monitoring and autonomous shipping.
But they are becoming more vulnerable to software malfunctions, cyber attacks and data breaches over internet.
Mr Sames thinks technology development will be in parallel with the shipping industry’s drive to reduce emissions over the decade.
“While we may not be able to predict precisely how and when these changes will take place, the impacts of both the digital acceleration and climate change are not selective,” he says. “No industry or individual will be unaffected.”
Technology development will lead to new business strategies and operations.
“Our ability to capitalise on opportunities and manage risk in our changing world will require big ideas and collective action,” said Mr Sames.
“To advance into the future, the shipping industry should also consider working seamlessly with ports, cargo owners and other industries to optimise logistics and apply its ocean space expertise to access the resources required to support the world’s growing population.”
Some industry players may explore performance-based contracts or digital business models.
But there are technologies that could thoroughly disrupt supply chain logistics and affect shipping demand.
DNV GL suggests a surge in 3D printing adoption and technology development could reduce demand for seaborne trade in its Technology Outlook 2030.
In a future supply chain, files could be sent via printing platforms instead of spare parts for printing locally. This could be potentially disruptive for supply chain participants, such as shipping companies and tax authorities.
Upsides could include shortened lead times, lifecycle and working capital cost reductions and a lower carbon footprint due to less transportation.
DNV GL forecasts that perhaps up to 85% of spare part suppliers may have incorporated 3D printing by 2030, leading to a 10% reduction in seaborne trade of semi-manufactured parts in 2040.
Mr Sames expects these changes will shape DNV GL’s service offering. “Especially related to the assurance of digital assets such as sensors, communication networks, algorithms, digital twins, digital ledgers, tokens and, most importantly, control systems for safety-critical functions,” he said.
“By leveraging emerging technologies to provide new and enhanced assurance services and addressing the related new and emerging risks, DNV GL aims to support customers seeking to understand and leverage new technologies to create value and manage their risks.”
Digitalisation technologies will be presented at Riviera Maritime Media’s Optimised Ship Forum series in 2020 in Singapore, Hamburg, London, Rotterdam and more