The centuries-old business of shipping, which was slow to adopt new technologies, has suddenly embraced total modernization in the past decade.
Internationally, the shipping industry is now investigating and adopting new technologies in all facets of commerce. Ports, ships, systems, procedures, and ancillary services are all undergoing technological upgrades. The industry’s digitization initiatives are also propelled by companies specializing in technological solutions. Robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, blockchain, drones, and augmented reality are all being used to create a more secure, efficient, and productive environment for export and import business.
While many developments are occurring in the world of shipping, here are some of them which you might find very interesting!
Big Data Analytics
With an increasing amount of data gathered from oceanographic data, marine accident data, and personal details, one of the most pressing questions is how data can be analyzed and utilized to enhance ship operations.
The development of big data analytics enables the use of algorithms to identify correlations between various types of data, with a study stating that “once a connection is identified, new algorithms are created and deployed automatically.”
Despite the benefits of more data and improved analysis, the problem of cybersecurity and data protection continues to be a concern. Data must be protected from harmful cyber assaults or the results could be devastating.
Sensors are able to gather data and then transmit it in real-time independently. Capturing this data enables shipowners to optimize their vessels’ entire maintenance cycles, including condition monitoring and condition-based monitoring. For instance, shipowners will be notified when a piece of equipment needs repair.
A wireless sensor network must be compact and self-calibrating, among other features. However, just like with big data analytics, cybersecurity must be a priority in wireless technologies.
While metals will continue to be the dominating material for ship construction, there will be opportunities to improve their properties via what is known as micro or nanoscale manipulation.
For instance, by using magnesium or calcium nanoparticles, welds can be strengthened. At the same time, a novel anti-corrosion coating can be utilized to safeguard vessels.
Additionally, shipping firms have the opportunity to increase their sustainability and fuel efficiency by using modern high-strength steel, aluminum, glass fiber, and carbon fiber composites. Tiger Containers provide the best quality shipping containers that can benefit your shipping business drastically.
Autonomous vehicles are gaining traction in a variety of transportation-related industries, including aviation and automotive. Their usage in the shipping industry will continue to grow to the point where autonomous surface and undersea boats will be regarded as a common facet of the business.
These vehicles will fundamentally alter how people in the sector do research, monitor, and interact with their surroundings. Commercially, the vehicles will be cost-effective and extensively utilized in deep ocean mining, oil and gas operations, and other industries.
There will eventually be various undersea, surface, and even air vehicles equipped with marine renewable energy collecting devices, sophisticated propulsion systems, and sensing and communication facilities.
Another technology that has the potential to benefit the shipping industry significantly is augmented reality. It can improve cargo planning, assist with maintenance and inspection, facilitate navigation, link worldwide teams, and even raise knowledge about a sector that is not readily accessible to those not directly involved. For instance, a person not involved in the business is unlikely to visit a container ship or a port. Augmented reality enables a close-up perspective of the sector to outsiders.
One subject that generates much debate is the employment of robots. By 2030 three new kinds of robots will be employed in commercial shipping: a learning robot; a practical robot, capable of handling an asset; and a mini-robot, capable of performing inspections under challenging conditions such as identifying and recording emissions and pollutants.
These robots will very certainly be created in conjunction with sensors and remote-control technology. To reduce human involvement in potentially dangerous processes, robotic technologies will integrate assets with emerging technologies such as big data and the Internet of Things.
Additionally, there is a point to be made about recruitment in the industry. According to the study, reducing human contact will be a rising trend in the future, creating new opportunities for robots and technicians to maintain them.
From WiFi to 5G connection, the advancement of communications technology will bring in the era of the ‘connected’ ship. This ship will provide operators with live audio and HD and 3D video recording onboard, removing the requirement for physical on-board surveys.
Real-time decision-making processes in ship management and automation will be achievable with these advancements. Additionally, the study states that improvements in communications between the ship and land may increase personnel welfare.
Propulsion and Energy
Alternative fuels, renewable energy, energy-saving devices, and hybrid power production all can play a role in power generation. Researchers identify two types of challenges: environmental and commercial, which include increasing fuel prices and fleet overcapacity.
With climate change never far from the forefront of public discourse, experts assert that future government carbon regulations may promote alternative fuels like hydrogen fuel cells.
Short-sea ships, tugs, offshore support boats, yachts, and interior canal vessels will most likely be the first to test these new technologies, including diesel, electric, and hybrid power.
Liquefied Natural Gas
Because of its environmental friendliness, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is becoming more popular as an alternative fuel for ships nowadays. As a result, the market for LNG-fueled marine engines is still in its infancy, but the prospects are promising.
Compared to diesel engines, LNG engines cut CO2 emissions by 20-25%, NOX emissions are reduced by almost 92%, and SOX and particulate matter emissions are virtually removed entirely. Furthermore, next-generation marine engines are needed to conform with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations.
Mitsubishi, Wartsila, Rolls-Royce, and MAN Diesel & Turbo are among the significant marine engine designers working on the technical advancement of compressed natural gas engines.
Apart from being a more environmentally friendly fuel, LNG is also more affordable than diesel, saving substantial vessels a lot of money over time.
Hyperloop Transportation System
Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept is a transportation system that uses a tube to move passengers or goods at up to 700 miles per hour. Industrialists from all around the globe have shown interest in this technology.
According to sources, the hyperloop would offer advantages such as reduced accidents, socioeconomic benefits, time savings, and operating cost reductions totaling USD 55 billion over 30 years. Additionally, it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 86,000 tons per year and alleviate traffic congestion on the connected highway. Additionally to these advantages, as Virgin Hyperloop One claimed at the launch, the hyperloop could reduce lead times and develop a stronger, more efficient supply chain.
Cyber attacks are a threat to the shipping industry; after all, ships are also connected to and reliant on the internet. This implies that security measures must be implemented on land and inside the ship’s internal architecture and systems.
When an intelligent ship solution is implemented, it uses real-time data from different sensors and managers onshore to enhance the efficiency of the ship. The experts who designed this system are well aware that data transmission between the ship and the land poses a cybersecurity risk to both parties.
The proper use of sensors and compliance with cybersecurity standards will make the Smart Ship solution a safe option.
System for Optimum Fuel Utilization
This kind of technology provides continuous monitoring of the ship’s performance and fuel usage. It is possible to install a fuel optimization system during the construction process that allows more competitive ships to use less fuel and produce fewer hazardous emissions.
Fuel consumption and hazardous pollutants are reduced by up to 12% via a more precise and optimum link between other sensors on the ship, ensuring that data transmission complies with all applicable cybersecurity requirements and guidelines. This technology may also be installed on ships that are already at sea.
Laser Cladding Machine
Another recent invention is a laser cladding machine, which can be used to clad pistons for hydraulic cylinders made of steel or stainless steel. Laser technology offers more accuracy but is also more damaging to the environment than conventional technology.
The capacity of mixing alloys assists in researching various kinds of liners. It may eventually lead to the shipping industry abandoning the currently preferred ceramic covering for ships. It is a dependable option that will reap advantages in the far future. It shortens the supply chain and offers a better-quality lining procedure while also being more damage-resistant during transportation.
We are witnessing a clash of old-school and cutting-edge technology in the shipping sector. We are seeing automated driving, package delivery with drones, and people interacting with robots. It is an incredible and fascinating time.
Though some of these innovations will take years to develop, others are already here. One thing is sure: the shipping business is evolving, and no one can stop it.