Future of International Shipping of Trade

The future takes place tomorrow, and by the time it arrives, it will no longer be the future but the present. Weird when you think about it. Technology is one of the coolest, most important aspects of human life. It has guided humanity toward a more sustainable future, has extended the average lifespan, and has given us so many advancements. From the discovering of fire (early caveman) to landing a man on the moon and into the internet age, technology is the ink of humankind’s story. This article touches on new technologies in shipping and trade .


From what the article outlines, technological advancements in the shipping and trade industry are exciting. In the early days, ships sailed (not powered) and were guided by the stars. Imagine the early explorers who set out to sea with a limited amount of food and supplies, not knowing what was on the other end of the journey. Today, ships use power (of course) and state of the art navigational systems to chart courses based on time, speed, weather, cargo, etc. and are designed to deliver the most amount of cargo in the fastest, safest and most cost-effective way possible. Technology drives this process, but it seems that a new era in international shipping may be taking place.


Technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence being implemented to shipping and trade to not only continue with the fastest, safest, and on-time delivery but with grander targets like reducing the number of carbon emissions and using alternative sources of energy to move ships across the seas and oceans.


Victor Restis, a Greek shipping magnate and president of Enterprises Shipping and Trade likes that technologies are being directed not only at the machines but toward people as well. Using distance learning and virtual reality for recertifications, safety tests, and other operational programs seem like a cost-effective process. Instead of seafarers conducting these tests in a classroom setting, many times, they can now perform these extracurricular, yet professionally mandated course, from home or during scheduled times onboard their vessel.


Restis does address the idea of autonomous shipping (meaning large cargo vessels being entirely operated by AI machines, or from a remote location) with the caveated that this is an unlikely scenario anytime soon despite the leaps and bounds offered by new technologies. I have to agree with this, but the technology is there. Self-driving cars are becoming more advanced, commercial planes can nearly fly themselves (they can take-off and land by computer operation) with AI, so it makes sense that cargo vessels may get a boost from AI and robotics.


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