The efficient operation of ship, large and small, will at some point depend on the ports and terminals where they load and unload. The effects of the Covid 19 pandemic have highlighted the need for increased automation, paperless documentation as well as a general optimisation of processes. Some of the technologies being introduced or discussed are as follows.
5G has caused some global political problems but as it is the latest development in wireless technology, it will prove crucial for the deployment of automation and smart technologies at container terminals and on ships. Some ports have already started their own 5G development programmes and the use of industrial grade private wireless networks will enable the provision of much the needed systems. Many shipping and port industry leaders are keen to accelerate the pace of digitalisation to cope with the new realities that will be faced in a post Covid 19 environment.
Cyber security, with a much lower profile, is nevertheless needed by the maritime industry and very recently a major shipping line-CMA,CGM was hit by a cyber attack which interrupted all internal access to the company’s network and computer applications. Other shipping lines have also suffered from such intrusions. It is also probable that the majority of job functions being carried out at home or in isolated places which has increased the reliance on computer networks and emails, may at the same time have increased the vulnerability of existing systems. S ome initiatives are already taking place such as the Israel-based shipping lineZIM ‘ initiative to offer a full range of cyber security services for the industry.
The introduction of the electronic B/L promoted by the digital container shipping Association DCSA, will help achieve standardised electronic systems as a foundation for digital transportation.
In summary, the pressures created by the pandemic are forcing all industries and particularly logistics, – sea, land and air, to modernise and digitalise processes and methods.