Maritime Industry Navigates Digital Transformation to Reshape Supply Chain


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New digitization solutions, such as big data, blockchain, automation, drones, and robotics, are enabling the maritime freight industry to introduce game-changing approaches that will significantly reduce or eliminate non-value-added activities. Over the next five years, maritime suppliers across the value chain will increasingly adopt solutions to address security, overcapacity and accurate cost models, according to new research from ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.

“Along with consolidation and pressures on profits, long-standing players must adapt and work with partners within and outside the industry, from startups to technology leaders in connectivity, AI, and more, including the competition, to align on much-needed standardization,” says Susan Beardslee, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. Recent examples include Wärtsilä’ s acquisition of Transas to support an intelligent maritime ecosystem and Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as Orange Business Service's deal with Cargotec for smart cargo handling.

Global maritime freight transportation revenue is expected to grow from US$166 billion last year to over US$205 billion in 2023.  Enhanced revenues and profits will be driven by technologies best poised to disrupt the maritime shipping industry including big data and analytics, blockchain, electrification, assisted and automated operations, drones and robotics, Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR). Maritime cybersecurity, also necessary to address current and emerging threats, will have a global spend expected to rise to $1.7 billion in 2023.

Beneficial Cargo Owners are gaining greater supply chain visibility and automation from start-ups including predictive logistics provider ClearMetal, Xenata’s crowdsourced, on-demand, real-time benchmark and market intelligence, Flexport’s digital procurement platform and Freightos’ marketplace for rate management. Sigfox debuted a new service offering real-time geolocation tracking for containers. Industrial IOT provider ORBCOMM offers reefer management solutions as well as two-way vessel monitoring via satellite and cellular. IBM partnered with Maersk Line on blockchain as well as with Cisco on smart connected ports. Microsoft is partnering with OOCL on AI for maritime. Electrification is growing including efforts by Guangzhou Shipyard International Company, Port Liner, and Torqueedo.

These findings are from ABI Research’s the Digital Transformation of Maritime Freight report. This report is part of the company’s Intelligent Transportation & eFreight research service, which includes research, data, and Executive Foresights.

About ABI Research

ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture. For more information click here.

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