Maritime transport is the backbone of the global economy, accounting for over 90% of cross-border trade. And like most other industries, shipping is being rapidly transformed by a range of technology innovations that aim to make operations greener, cheaper, and more efficient. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended maritime transport and created unprecedented challenges for professionals across the sector. Against this backdrop, how can we tap the full potential of technology to create a more sustainable, more resilient shipping industry? What are the potential impacts and policy implications?
To answer this, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University recently published a joint study on the Impact of Disruptive Technologies on Maritime Trade and Industry. Our team at the World Bank’s Infrastructure and Urban Hub in Singapore had the opportunity to discuss these issues with the authors and provide some input.
Based on this exchange, there are three key takeaways that I think can help frame the conversation on maritime transport and technology.
1.COVID-19 has underscored the importance of technology in the maritime sector
Even before the pandemic, maritime transport was facing growing pressure to transform.