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How Technology Integration Is Transforming the Shipping Industry

Over the last two decades, various technologies have become integral parts of our daily lives. This recent integration of technology has reshaped the ways that people play, work, communicate, and live. It is also revolutionizing countless industries, including the worlds of shipping and logistics.

Below, we’ll explore what technology integration is as we examine 10 real-world examples of cutting-edge technologies that are currently being used to optimize the shipping industry. 

How Does Technology Integration Work?

At its core, the concept of technology integration is relatively straightforward. Companies engaging in technology integration examine current business practices and identify which ones they would like to make more efficient. 

From there, they seek out technologies that they can integrate into existing processes in order to make the desired improvements.

In the shipping industry, technologies can be integrated with computer software and asset management applications. Technology can also be integrated with physical objects, such as ships themselves, shipping containers, and equipment.

Many integrations in the shipping sector involve access to information solutions, alternatively referred to as ATI technologies. As the name suggests, these technologies are focused on providing organizational leaders with better access to information so that they can optimize efficiency and performance.

10 Ways Technology Integrations Are Improving the Shipping Industry

We have identified 10 technology integrations that are either already reshaping the shipping industry or have the potential to do so in the near future. These technologies are as follows: 

  • Data Analysis 
  • Hyperloop Transport System 
  • Smart Ships 
  • Autonomous Technology 
  • Robotic Technology 
  • Augmented Reality (AR) 
  • Blockchain Technology 
  • IoT on Vessels 
  • Digital Route Management of Ships 
  • Integrated Control Systems

1. Data Analysis

Leading-edge data analytics software can process massive quantities of data. This technology sorts and arranges data in a logical way with the goal of providing valuable business insights to organizational leaders. 

Data analysis software processes information regarding things such as shipping destinations, the average weight of containers, the number of containers transported, the type of material that is being shipped, and so much more.

2. Hyperloop Transport System

The hyperloop transport system is a concept that has not yet come to fruition. This transportation method involves sending cargo or people to their destination via a high-speed tube. Such a system would transport its cargo at speeds that exceed 700 miles per hour.

3. Smart Ships

Think of smart ships as a scaled-up version of smart cars or smart homes. In simple terms, smart ships are vessels that are outfitted with the latest array of digital technology integrations. The end game is to create fully autonomous ships, which brings us to the next item on our list, that being autonomous technology. 

4. Autonomous Technology

Autonomous technology is already being used in the shipping industry. In fact, one of the world’s first autonomous cargo ships just concluded a 500-mile journey that passed through Tokyo Bay. According to the company managing the voyage, 99% of the trip was completed without any human intervention.

5. Robotic Technology

Robotic technology is one of the most versatile types of tech that is currently being used within the shipping industry. Modern robotic technology can be utilized for the purpose of loading cargo, unloading freight, and addressing safety concerns, such as ship fires, among many other uses. Furthermore, advanced robotics technology is used in conjunction with automation software and artificial intelligence solutions in order to create smart robots.

6. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality technologies allow individuals to immerse themselves in robust digital environments that simulate real-world scenarios. Modern AR technology is primarily being used for training purposes, as it allows students to gain valuable experience without incurring any real-world risks. Deploying AR solutions also makes training more accessible and cost-effective.

7. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology allows shippers to create immutable shipping records. These records can be used for auditing purposes, to monitor shipping trends, and to guard against criminal activity. Blockchain also provides shippers and logistics firms with a safe and secure method of collecting funds from clients.

8. IoT on Vessels

The Internet of Things (IoT) comprises various internet-connected devices, including watches, smart machinery, and WiFi-enabled monitoring equipment. IoT devices can be controlled using a smartphone, tablet, computer, or dedicated remote that is connected to the internet.  

9. Digital Route Management of Ships

Digital route management software can be integrated with other logistics software in order to optimize shipping routes. These technology integrations are being used to reduce congestion in busy ports, improve delivery efficiency, and prevent collisions or other accidents.

10. Integrated Control Systems

Traditionally, the crews of cargo ships must work together to monitor a wide range of independent systems. The decentralized nature of this approach makes managing a vessel and its operating systems incredibly challenging. 

Integrated control systems eliminate this issue by providing the command staff with comprehensive vessel data. This technology also allows the captain and their crew to monitor the status of every ship component using a single, centralized interface.

What’s Next for Technology Integration in the Shipping Industry?

In the coming years, shippers and logistics firms will continue to leverage technology integration in order to improve operational efficiency. These integrations will also create safer working conditions for crew members, reduce the frequency of shipping accidents, and lower the overhead costs.

Autonomous ships will likely become the norm in the next decade. These ships require virtually no human intervention and can safely navigate even the most congested waterways. 

Shippers will also use robotics technologies with increasing frequency, as these solutions allow them to address ongoing labor shortages. At the same time, they also optimize the organizational productivity of the company.


What’s the Future of Shipping?

As the shipping industry continues to evolve, expect cargo ships equipped with advanced technology to become the norm. Distribution centers, trucks, and other components of the shipping ecosystem will also be laden with edge technologies designed to maximize operational efficiency.

What Is Smart Ship Technology?

The term “Smart ship technology” refers to the suite of technologies that are installed on container ships and other vessels for the purpose of facilitating more efficient shipping. Examples include autonomous piloting software, data analytics tools, and internet-connected devices.

 Is Smart Shipping a Challenge or an Opportunity?

Ultimately, it’s both. Smart shipping will allow logistics companies to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for their services. However, companies will encounter challenges as they explore new ways of leveraging smart shipping principles.

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