Digitalization is rapidly transforming the shipping industry and it is now a competitive necessity. Information technology is now the primary way for CEOs and companies to achieve and increase long-term profitability. There is not just one technology that will be used in the digital future for the industry. There will be an overlap and interplay between technology areas. For example, sensors that provide data help transform ship operations. However, with the need for more digital technology will also be the need for data to be secure, and both data protection and cyber security are top concerns.

New Standardizations

While there has never been a shortage of standards in the industry, there are new standards that are quickly identified globally and by everyone. These new standards allow data to be exchanged between systems. Something that is currently being worked on is just-in-time arrival and smart container tracking devices. These solutions will make it possible to avoid waiting times for ships in ports and this helps with schedule reliability and environmental benefits. This real-time status drives great efficiency and improves shipment planning.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will help companies transition from big data to accessible business analytics that can suggest higher profitability outcomes.


Increased networking has made it so that systems will be more vulnerable. Cyber risk management systems should be installed on board all ships in order to enhance the safety of the environment, crew, and cargo and minimize any collateral damage that could come with an attack. Each carrier should decide for itself the level of security it will have but there is a baseline level of security for everyone in the industry.

Big Data Analytics

With more information that is being collected from maritime accident data, oceanographic data, and personal information, the question is how is the data being analyzed and used in ship operations? The evolution of these analytics allows for the ability to use algorithms to look at connections between the different forms of data.

The Connected Ship

The growth in different communications, from 5G connectivity to Wi-Fi, means there are new, connected ships. The connected ship allows operators to have access to live audio, as well as HD video from on-board recording devices, and get rid of the need for on-board surveys. While this may be a hotly debated topic, this could mean real time decision making in ship management could also be feasible. With the connections, the enhancements of in-ship to shore communication could improve the crew welfare.

Wireless Monitoring

Wireless monitoring will remove the need for regular visits to some remote locations. Instead, sensors can collect data and relay the information in real time. Capturing this data allows for better maintenance, condition monitoring, and more. Sensors can notify owners when a piece of equipment needs maintenance.

While the shipping industry still generates a lot of paper, digitalization in shipping can’t be stopped and the key is an intelligent data exchange that uses clearly defined standards. 

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