Technology has made its way into various industries and processes that their absence or inaccessibility can hamper the usual, efficient operations of a business. The addition of new and better technologies, on the other hand, can improve different procedures, bringing companies a step closer to their goals.

This is a case that rings true for the shipping industry. The use of different types of technology in this sector has streamlined various processes which have helped simplify booking shipments and increase delivery time and overall efficiency.

Since technology has supported and improved the shipping industry over the past years, everyone involved or working in this sector is looking forward to the latest discoveries and innovations that will provide them more benefits now and in the future.

Technological Advancements in the Shipping Industry

The shipping industry is awaiting several technologies that are expected to enhance and transform different processes and revolutionize the whole sector itself.

Below are the six highly anticipated technologies set to change the world of shipping:

1. The Internet of Things

Although the Internet of Things or IoT is already embedded into many industries, even in homes, it still has to make its presence known in shipping.

Once the industry fully adapts the IoT, collecting data and processing them will be revolutionized. Information will be processed and sent in real-time, which will dramatically streamline and improve various operations.

Moreover, the collected real-time data can have positive effects on nearly everything from route optimization to tracking goods and equipment monitoring.

The IoT can impact the distribution of goods by land as well. Since real-time data collection and better sensors will translate to smarter choices of delivery routes, drivers can avoid route confusion.

This, in turn, will enable drivers to make more deliveries faster, cut costs, and avoid loss of sales or profits.

2. Autonomous Ships

In the past, crewless ships sailing the seven seas may be something you only read about in science fiction books. However, autonomous vessels may soon be a reality, and they will be used in the shipping industry.

Many companies are currently developing real-time control centers on land that can manage the crew aboard the ship more proficiently. Additionally, this capability will increase the safety of the people on board the vessel since they have someone who can alert them of any issues they might be having.

In the future, it is expected that an overseer from the control center will soon have the ability to control a ship from his position. Because of this, there will be less need for crew members. This, in turn, will mean lower labor costs.

Moreover, with a sailor-less system, human errors will be reduced and even eradicated. As a result, safety in the sea will be improved.

It is also worth adding here that trucks are also making headway with automation. When this technology is fully complete and implemented, these large crewless vehicles will further improve the speed and efficiency of product deliveries.

3. Artificial Intelligence Processing Systems

In the shipping industry, artificial intelligence or AI is already making a lot of things easier since it integrates logistics and communication technology to transform various processes and business models within the sector.

Also, various forward-thinking companies are developing robotic technology that can be used for more reliable merchandise selection and order processing.

Amazon, for instance, has already tested the waters of AI technology. The brand acquired a company that manufactures robots that can retrieve customer orders from Amazon’s warehouses.

With this technology, Amazon can fulfill more customer orders faster and improve their shipping process significantly.

Once AI fully makes its way in and around the shipping industry, mistakes in order selection, delivery destinations, and other expensive blunders typically caused by human error will be eliminated. When these issues are mitigated, the cost of operations will be reduced significantly.

4. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality or AR can also have several uses in the shipping industry.

For one, it can connect employees from different parts of the globe for meetings or conferences. Shipping companies can also use this technology to deliver training or refresher courses. In addition, AR can be used to provide demonstrations for ship inspections and repairs.

With this technology, communication and collaborations will be improved and more productive. Remote employees will be able to understand and take instructions and directions better as well.

Because of these reasons, various processes will be enhanced, making the whole shipping operation more efficient and cost-effective.

5. Rebirth of Freight Rail

In the US, business analysts say that trains will change the logistics system in the coming years. With better technology and systems in play, trains will help meet the demand for faster deliveries since they can be quicker than trucks.

Additionally, the longest railway in the world, located in China, is already fully operational. The train stops in Russia, Germany, Poland, and other countries in Europe, with the farthest, last station found in Madrid, Spain.

Due to this extensive railway, shipping between China and the connected European countries is now faster. Because of this, it is expected that freight rail will also experience a renaissance in Asia and Europe soon.

Once the reliance on trucks and other land-based vehicles is reduced, congestion and traffic on the roads will be lessened. Additionally, carbon footprints and pollution, in general, will be decreased. This will help safeguard and improve the environment in various ways.

6. Eco-Friendly Ships

Using railway freight is one of the best ways to help reduce the impact of shipping on the environment. However, many companies are still looking at more eco-friendly strategies to transport goods overseas.

Some companies, for instance, are looking into the possibility of developing battery-powered ships. Without the need for gas, these vessels will lessen their carbon footprints. There will also be a lower possibility of oil leaks that can happen while the craft is on the sea.

Aside from batteries, various companies are studying the possibility of using sustainable energy to power ships. Technology will use the wind and ocean currents to carry the vessel from port to port.

Additionally, developers of autonomous and sustainable-powered energy ships are leaning towards smaller sizes. Since the vessels will not be too large, they will travel faster.

Moreover, with smaller ships, there will be fewer required construction materials by builders. Because of this, there will be less waste to deal with after the production process. This will help the environment further, as well.

Although some of these technologies are already used in moving goods, there are still many innovative ones to look forward to. These technological advancements, making their way soon to the shipping industry, will make delivering and receiving products faster, more eco-friendly, and satisfactory for both the sender and recipient.

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