37-38/2016 Shipping go?
There’s been no end to the bad economic news lately, also on account of firms worldwide releasing their half-yearly reports. The shipping industry was no exception (see ITJ 35-36 / 2016, page 10). A plethora of measures have been introduced in an attempt to counter the poor economic climate, including cost cuts and rationalisation efforts.
The digitalisation of transport processes has been joined by many companies’ efforts to automate processes. The Swiss post office, for example, is testing small remote-controlled vehicles for the delivery of urgent shipments, as well as drones for delivery by air. Some truck haulage services without drivers have also been tested (on motorways too). In many ports robots manage the distribution of unloaded cargo – after cranes without operators have unloaded the vessels.
Let us also take a look at the maritime shipping industry, which together with the aviation sector is the core leg of many an intermodal transport. Shipping is a very traditional segment; it’s well-known that it‘s a bit staid. Thus it does not come as much of a surprise to find that it is one of the last modes to step into the future. At least paper documents, such as bills of lading and the like, are presumably set to vanish completely soon and be replaced by digital versions – thus cutting substantial costs. But the industry would not appear to be prepared to go any further than that. So there won’t be any huge freighters sailing the seven seas without a captain and his crew on board any time soon.
So there’ll be no “Shipping Go” – at least not for the time being. (The Pokémon Go wave appears to be ebbing again already, by the way.)
Here’s to your enjoyment of the latest issue of the ITJ.