Shipping is the most energy efficient mode of transport, but there is still significant room for improvement regarding energy efficiency and associated emissions. The industry also has a safety challenge with casualty rates far exceeding those of comparable land-based industries
Financial, regulatory, and societal pressures will continue to encourage shipping to lower its environmental impact. This will result in:
- More vessels designed to offer superior energy efficiency through measures such as improved hydrodynamics, use of lightweight materials, advanced hybrid power generation systems, with energy storage to optimize performance.
- New, increasingly effective solutions to reduce water and air pollution.
- Diversification of the fuel mix, with an increasing share of distillate fuels as well as scrubbers for compliance with upcoming low-sulphur requirements.
- Alternative fuels potentially playing a more important role, with LNG introduced in large ocean-going vessels, and grid electricity becoming standard for cold ironing in ports.
Digitalization will spur automation and positively impact safety and environmental performance. Ships are becoming sophisticated sensor hubs and data generators, with advances in satellite communications improving ship connectivity. Onshore, new cloud technologies will dramatically effect how vessels and their components are designed, built, and tested.
Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is another potential game changer.
Technology uptake in shipping does and will vary in different geographies and trade segments. However, the digital era brings ‘through-cycle’ change in and of itself – overturning business models and modes of operation.