The shipping industry has played a major role in the expansion of business and trade for years. It is the most effective mode of trading and has a significant influence on the world economy. For centuries, shipping companies have transported cargo in every form effortlessly. However, with the growing population, imports and exports have increased exponentially in the global markets and this escalation is expected to continue for quite a long time.
The Growth of Sensor Technology
Sensor technology is one of the most advanced and well-developed technologies today. With the introduction of sensors, there is no need for checking equipment on the ships manually. Connecting all the machinery to sensors through wireless connectivity enables the crew on the ship to keep accurate tabs on the working condition of machines, the maintenance required at regular intervals, and their complete operability on ships.
The use of robots in every sector has become quite common in the past few years. In the shipping industry, robots are gradually being used to aid all the tasks. Activities like packing, delivering, inspection, firefighting, etc. can be carried out by robots effortlessly.
Since robots work more effectively and without any breaks, the shipping industry is anticipated to come to rely heavily on the use of robots for every function. These robots will also be able to locate and navigate ships and can be used to eliminate a threat in case of an attack. The size of these robots is also being worked upon. Robots the size of heavy machinery can take up a lot of space and prove to be a hurdle. New types of robots, called ‘mini-robots’, are being paired with the sensors to identify and record all the data in the ship and work on it.
IoT (Internet of Things)
IoT primarily consists of a GPS and a cloud-based database which stores all the data collected by devices on the ship. IoT also connects the sensors, robots and other devices through a wireless network. The advantage of using IoT is that, since it keeps track of all devices and shipments, the shipping industry will be able to provide better customer service. It can provide customers with information about the location, time of arrival and delay in the shipment. IoT is, hence, a highly anticipated technological solution to management problems on the ship.
Advanced Environment-Friendly Material
Increasing trade in the shipping industry has caused a lot of pollution and environmental damage. Waste effluents, fuel from ships, oil spills, and other shipping-related issues have made it necessary to adopt a greener approach in the maritime industry. Megaships are being designed with more sustainable materials, like fibre-reinforced plastic, to carry a large quantity of cargo at a time, thus reducing traffic. The reducing traffic will also ensure reduced carbon footprint of the ships.
Technology and shipping are no longer strangers but neither has technology replaced manual involvement in shipping. It is important that technology be seen as a valuable tool to assist shipping operations and used accordingly.