Shipping experts like Victor Restis believe that the shipping industry has a very bright future, despite its current condition. In 2022 and beyond, the shipping industry should be stronger, more stable, less human-intensive, and therefore more profitable. Here are some predictions for the shipping industry in the coming years:
The industry will be much more automated.
Shipping is a very labor-intensive industry, and as such, it is ripe for automation. Already we are seeing initiatives like Rolls-Royce’s Autonomous Shipping Programme, which aims to develop autonomous vessels. In the future, we can expect to see more and more ships being operated autonomously, with humans being more of a backup plan.
Ships will have zero direct emissions.
One of the biggest issues facing shipping is its CO2 emissions. However, that problem could be solved with autonomous ships featured in prediction number one, the electric-powered ones. An electric-powered ship would use batteries charged by onboard turbines creating zero direct emissions, although there may be indirect effects caused by manufacturing the batteries required for this technology.
High demand for skilled workers – including sailors
Long gone are the times of unskilled or semi-skilled sailors working on cargo ships – as automation increases, and increased skillset is required to ensure proper operation of these vessels. This means that the industry will need to attract more people who can operate and maintain the increasingly complex systems onboard ships. In addition, there will be a continued demand for experienced sailors who have the knowledge and skills to navigate these waters safely.
The industry will be more consolidated.
As the shipping industry becomes more automated and efficient, there will likely be a consolidation of players in the market. This means that there will be fewer but bigger companies dominating the industry. This could lead to increased competition and decreased profit margins for smaller players.
Piracy will continue to be a problem.
One of the downsides of an increasingly automated shipping industry is that it becomes easier for criminals to hijack vessels and cargo. Piracy has been rising in recent years and is only likely to continue as technology makes it easier for criminals to operate. This could lead to increased costs for shippers and a heightened sense of security.
The industry will be more cost-effective.
As the shipping industry becomes more automated, it will become more cost-effective. This is because there will be fewer human errors, which are often the cause of costly mishaps. In addition, as ships become more autonomous, they will need fewer crew, leading to lower labor costs.
The industry will be more environmentally friendly.
As mentioned in prediction number two, electric-powered ships produce zero direct emissions and are much more environmentally friendly than traditional diesel-powered vessels. We can expect to see a shift towards electric-powered ships in the coming years as the industry becomes more efficient and cost-effective.
The industry will be better regulated.
Although many of the changes that we can expect to see in the shipping industry involve automation, technology, and robotization, there is no doubt that this is a very human-dependent business. This means that it will not take much for things to go wrong if the proper regulations are not implemented. As such, we can expect increased regulation by governments and international organizations like the IMO to ensure everything remains running smoothly and safely.