21 September 2018

Shipping industry puts environmental preparedness before blockchain

Technology to address environmental issues and emissions ranks above blockchain as driver of change in shipping, law firm survey says.

In a survey conducted by global law firm Reed Smith, assessing which technology will be the most significant driver of change in shipping over the next five years, respondents placed environmental issues and emissions above blockchain.

Environment and emissions

Analysis of big data and technology to address environmental issues and emissions were equally significant, at 40 per cent each, while blockchain was considered the most significant driver of change by only 20 per cent of respondents. Broken down by sector, 67 per cent of owners said technology to address environmental issues will be the most significant driver, whereas 57 per cent of professional services said analytics of big data. However, blockchain was considered the most significant driver among 50 per cent of charterers and financiers. Researchers also asked industry participants to rate their ‘preparedness’ as well as the ‘urgency’ of emissions regulations, big data and blockchain for their company. Sixty-three per cent of the industry said complying with emissions regulations was a high priority for their business, this rose to 88 per cent among operators and 90 per cent among owners. Among the respondents, 50 per cent said they were ‘very prepared’ and already taking action, while a further 31 per cent said they were still considering their options.

Big data

Predictive analytics of big data, was considered of medium priority for 47 per cent of respondents with 25 per cent already taking action within their company, while 41 per cent of respondents were still considering their options. Only 14 per cent of the respondents deemed blockchain a high priority concern for their company and therefore only 8 per cent are ‘very prepared’, with the remainder yet to make a decision or still considering their options. Nick Shaw, global head of shipping at Reed Smith, said ‘companies are prioritising their responses to the upcoming 2020 Sulphur Cap deadline over other developments such as blockchain and big data, and while not surprising, those within the industry will need to keep a closer eye on developments around blockchain, particularly from new market entrants, if they want to keep their competitive edge.’