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Is the shipping industry ready to transform digitally?

Is the shipping industry using technology to its full potential? ‘Absolutely not!’ says Geert Schouten, director at Shipbuilder Software and speaker at our upcoming Shipping2030 Europe conference. ‘Too many maritime companies are still in the “fax era”’ he adds. ‘The shipping industry is always about one or two decades behind other industries’ agrees Professor Mikis Tsimplis from University of Southampton, another speaker at Shipping2030.

Prof. Mikis explains that changing ships is expensive, therefore innovation tends to get adapted in new ships rather than reinvested in older ones.

‘The economic cycle plays an important role in determining when new technology can be adopted. When the market is down and companies try to survive, only innovation and technology already proven to pay back their value may be considered by the industry…even this may be challenging’ - says Prof. Mikis, and ‘the requirement for safety poses further more problems’.

‘I think that a part of the shipping industry sees technological innovation not as areas where competitive advantage is to be gained and therefore will not use it unless the profit is increased by its use. At the current economic climate it is very difficult to see how this can change. It will require either radical alteration of the business model or discriminatory practices to ships which through technological advantages are more efficient and less polluting. This, however is not easy to implement.’ - Prof. Mikis continues.

There are many difficulties that the industry faces when trying to embrace new technologies, however most agree that the industry's future depends on it.

In the survey we carried out as part of Shipping2030 Asia last year, 95% of respondents agreed that technology will affect their business, but a concerning 48% didn't think their organisation had the capabilities needed to support the digital transformation. ‘My advice to the maritime sector is to transform now, because, will your current business model still be relevant in 5 years time at all?’ Geert asks.

‘Our clients are steadily getting used to the fact that embracing digital opportunities are a necessity. My advice:  you can’t climb a mountain with one jump to the top (the mountain is digital transformation), do it step by step.’ says Geert. Prof. Mikis adds that ‘technological development is a continuous process. Plan for the successive steps’.

Part of Geert's talk at Shipping2030 will look at how using human intelligence and the right data management tools successful digital transformation is possible. Learn more about how your business can implement digital change now at Shipping2030.

Check out KNect365 Maritime today »

One of our upcoming shipping and maritime events may be the perfect solution to your company's needs, whether they be keeping up with the newest technologies, or sharing your own expertise with the industry.

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