Author: Andrea Duran
Today is World Maritime Day. It is not a holiday like Christmas or Halloween, no one is going to receive gifts or candy because of today. However, one of the main reasons people receive gifts of any sort is because of the Maritime industry.
This year’s World Maritime Day marks an interesting year. Though the maritime industry has made efforts to increase sustainable practices, the COVID-19 pandemic has made those strides even more important. Strides in technology, from training through augmented reality to autonomous ships run by Artificial Intelligence, have made it possible for sustainable shipping to not only to be considered more and more important, but to actually take place.
The maritime transportation industry transports products that businesses and individuals use, need, and buy every day. According to World Finance, more than 90 percent of world trade is seaborne. In the United States, the dominant mode of transportation for all imported and exported goods is by vessel. People all over the world need food, clothing, products, energy and supplies and that is precisely why sustainable shipping is so important.
The only way to inhabit a more sustainable world is by choosing to follow more sustainable practices. Sustainable shipping is not only environmentally friendly, but necessary and practical. It not only provides a means of making the industry––as well as the world––more environmentally conscious, but fosters innovation, creativity and economic competitiveness. As stated by Petter Ostbo of Yara International on the world’s first crewless cargo ship, “even if some say climate change is not reality, it’s a business reality because clean sources of energy are more affordable than fossil fuels.”
The world is changing. Advances in robotics and AI make the workforce of the maritime industry appear different in the future. Strides in environmentally friendly practices may cost more now but may prove to be pragmatic investments in the long run. Change is a part of nature, and as the world changes, so must the industry.
Therefore, the question is not whether sustainable shipping is the key to the future of the maritime industry, but rather how fast the industry can seize the opportunities it creates. That is why IMO and NAMEPA’s theme for this year’s World Maritime Day is “Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet.”
Links in order of appearance:
Seanews, Augmented Reality in Shipping and Maritime Industry, September 15 2020
Forbes, The Incredible Autonomous Ships Of The Future: Run By Artificial Intelligence Rather Than A Crew, June 5 2019
World Finance, The shipping industry must adapt if it is to survive in the modern world, April 27 2020,
United States Department of Transportation, Maritime Trade and Transportation by the Numbers, May 2012
The Verge, The world’s first crewless cargo ship will launch next year, July 24 2017