Autonomous logistics afloat

Autonomy success will include small-load, short-haul
Eric Bakker/Port of Rotterdam

Autonomous shipping – the keynote topic of every maritime industry event for quite some time – is finally taking baby steps towards reality. However, major regulatory challenges still lie ahead…

A key aspect of this will be how ports will need to adapt to welcome autonomous ships. In particular, the ways that unmanned vessels will berth and manoeuvre around ports – many of which might be densely trafficked – will be the subject of intense scrutiny…

Ports are already under pressure to adapt to a number of recent trends, including bigger ships, sustainability and climate change initiatives and smart concepts such as big data. But where do autonomous ships fit into the equation?

Andrew Higgs is a consultant solicitor at Setford Solicitors and one of the co-authors of the BPA report. He says that autonomous ships could help UK ports benefit from increased short sea shipping across inland and territorial waters around the British Isles, as well as continental European ports.

While initial considerations are oriented towards the EU and the UK…questions ranged, from regulation to logistics complexity are touched throughout the article. Not only a good read for folks currently involved in commerce and logistics…but, anyone with an interest in where robots and automation, artificial intelligence and its implementation are headed.

The first port in the world aiming for advanced autonomous operations is Caofeidan in northern China … by the end of the year. Including a joint US/China startup, TuSimple. Might be nice if our Cold Warriors in Congress and the White House paid attention to the world of commerce.

3 thoughts on “Autonomous logistics afloat

  1. Hai dozo says:

    First Autonomous Cargo Ship Faces Test With 236-Mile Voyage
    In just two decades from now, half of all domestic ships plying Japan’s coastal waters may be piloting themselves.
    That’s the ambitious goal of the Nippon Foundation, a public-interest organization backing the country’s development of ocean-traversing autonomous ships. It aims to see crewless ships make up 50% of Japan’s local fleet by 2040.
    With the foundation’s backing, a group that includes Japan’s largest shipping company, Nippon Yusen KK, plans to have a container ship pilot itself from Tokyo Bay to Ise, a coastal city in central Mie prefecture, in February. According to Nippon Yusen, the 380 kilometer (236 mile) voyage will be the world’s first test of an autonomous ship in an area with heavy marine traffic.
    The global market for autonomous shipping could grow to be worth around $166 billion by 2030.

  2. Ahoy says:

    Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara has debuted its long-awaited Yara Birkeland, the world’s first electric and autonomous container ship for emission-free shipping. The ship departed for its maiden voyage Friday in the Oslo fjord.
    “We are proud to be able to showcase the world’s first fully electric and self-propelled container ship. It will cut 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and replace 40,000 trips by diesel-powered trucks a year, says Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara.

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