4 Fleet Management Tech Predictions for 2021

By Devin Partida

Technology is rapidly changing numerous industries, and the maritime sector is no exception. Here’s a look at four changes that are likely on the horizon for fleet management technology.

1. Artificial Intelligence Will Advance

Artificial intelligence (AI) has reshaped processes in a wide range of industries. Maritime executives see the technology’s promise for their industry, too, although current uses are in the early stages.

For example, Tore Morten Olsen, president of maritime for Marlink, acknowledged that the sector was not an early adopter of AI but has started to use it to predict equipment life cycles.

Moreover, the U.S. Navy is investigating the possibility of crewless naval ships, which would need AI to work.

2. Smart Containers Will Become Standardized

Connected technologies remove guesswork by showing people the real-time locations of vehicles and cargo. Maritime companies commonly track containers and give authorized parties up-to-the-minute details about trip plans and cargo specifics.

Analysts think the rise in smart containers necessitates standardization between the products. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Smart Container Business Requirements Specifications is the first such framework. If more products adhere to those standards, adoption rates should go up as parties see the benefits of interoperability.

3. Blockchain Could Improve Information Sharing

Blockchain is the digital ledger system most commonly associated with cryptocurrencies. Maritime businesses are also interested in how it could help people swiftly and securely share information.

For example, blockchain could link all ports and terminals and be used to negotiate contracts.

4. Fleet Management Tech Providers Must Call Attention to Cybersecurity Compliance

Fleet management options will include increasingly detailed cybersecurity specifics to help them compete in the market. That’s because the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a cybersecurity-related resolution in 2017. It asked administrators to address cyberthreats in their existing safety management systems. That must happen no later than a company’s first annual verification of its document of compliance scheduled after January 1, 2021.

These four predictions strongly suggest that fleet management technologies will become more advanced in the coming year. The maritime sector tends to be conservative in tech adoption, but the impacts of COVID-19 may spur companies to investigate new technologies faster than they would have otherwise.

Devin Partida is the editor-in-chief of rehack.com: devin@rehack.com.

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