Slowly, slowly the first dare-devils are sticking their heads above the parapet again. The question isn’t whether the rather timidly emerging new era is post-pandemic, the new normal, or post-post-modern – the crucial issue is how things will go in detail in future.
One body that has pondered this matter is the Global Maritime Consultants Group (GMCG), which is headquartered in Cyprus and has been active since 1988. It has published no less than four white papers looking into various aspects of the future of the shipping industry. The GMCG’s experts have come to a surprising conclusion, namely that the decisive factor for the solution of every question is – humans.
Once we, as people who’ve been imprinted with the seal of technological progress, have overcome the shock of this insight, the picture becomes a bit more than differentiated. The long-term path to autonomous shipping has been sketched. The system will also need a particularly well-trained expert on land, however, the ‘designated person ashore’, to monitor proceedings and guide vessels safely through the compliance jungle. This will include particularly circumspect adherence to all issues touching on the entire gamut of protecting the environment.
The pandemic has shown up the vulnerability of global supply chains. It has also shown the way forward to collaboration between humans and machines. That’s encouraging.