Technology key to future of shipping

Digitalisation is bringing disruption to industries and changing the way conventional businesses work.

Digitalisation is bringing disruption to industries and changing the way conventional businesses work. A powerhouse panel of movers and shakers convened to discuss the future of shipping.
The inaugural ‘Global Perspectives: The Future of Shipping’ forum, was one of the key events at Singapore Maritime Week 2018.
There were about 300 participants including CEOs, CTOs and CFOs from shipping, port and maritime sectors. It featured a panel comprising maritime veterans.

      • Dr Martin Stopford, president of Clarkson Research
      • Carl Schou, president and CEO of Wilhelmsen Ship Management
      • Lim Kell Jay, country head of Grab Singapore
      • Claas Durach, regional head of Ocean Freight, Crossborder of Lazada eLogistics
      • Tal Drory, senior manager, AI – Multimedia, IBM Haifa Research Lab

The future of shipping
In response to the first question, “Is digitalisation for real or just a hype?”, 81.4% of the audience agreed that it was a very real and prevalent part of the world today.
In contrast, 12.9% reserved their judgement for a later time by voting that “it’s still early days to comment on this”.
However, 5.7% decided that it was “a hype”.
Therefore, Stopford acknowledged, “there has definitely been a silent revolution going on, with greening, digitisation and automation.”
Drory on the other hand expressed strong confidence that A.I. would be transforming all industries in the future.

Learning from consumer sector

When asked which consumer sector they felt offered the most learning points when it comes to applying digitalisation to the maritime sector, 66.4% of the audience chose the “retail, logistics and e-commerce” sector.
20.4% thought it was the “transport” sector.
The remaining 13.6% believed it to be the “fintech and banking” sector.
Various other questions were brought up by the audience, including one on how to attract younger talent to the maritime industry.
Drory was optimistic that with “the industry becoming more computerised and digitised, the appeal to the younger generation would become higher”.
Finally, when asked what they considered was the best strategy for coping with the opportunities of A.I., blockchain and data analytics disruptions, 63.3% opted to partner with a company in the field.
In contrast, 27.5% thought to create or join an industry consortium.
However, 9.2% chose to invest in or buy an A.I. or blockchain start-up.
“It’s a matter of knowing what you want to achieve,” said Durach, referring to how quickly technological changes take place.
He suggested that it is probably better to partner with a thought leader than create one’s own consortium or start-up.
In conclusion, Stopford summed up the room’s sentiment. “Isn’t it fantastic that we have all these opportunities to improve the business through technology?”

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