Developments and prospects for sea transport at Shipping 4.0

During Shipping 4.0, the conference dedicated to shipping which we supported and which took place at the Genova Blue District, we had an effective opportunity to discuss a shared vision among the various stakeholders of the sector.

With 600 participants and over 70 speakers, it was outlined a path focused on digital transformation, ecological transition and continuous training to create new skills.

Shipping in the current context of increasing freight rates and demand for rail transport

In the last few months we have seen how the world of transport is liquid and how the structural changes in maritime transport have had enormous repercussions on rail transport: the shipping world has implemented various measures to respond to the drastic reduction in demand by reorganising and reducing supply (with blank sailings, reduction of the fleet and cruising speed, in some cases even with the revision of routes).

This has resulted in a significant increase in freight rates, comparable to the cost of rail transport.

If we also take into account the increasing delays of ships, we can understand why a large proportion of users have shifted their transport to rail, when just a few months earlier this mode was considered too expensive.

Such an unprecedented increase in demand for rail services from China (+50% compared to the previous year) has affected the infrastructure.

In addition, as a result of European lockdowns and the sharp drop in export traffic, there have been numerous reductions in services in the East Bound.

The combination of these two elements has led to a frequent lack of rolling stock in China, resulting in irregular departures. By now, the situation is still critical: the availability of space is very poor, and we cannot overlook a problem common to maritime transport that is the lack of equipment in China, which also adds to costs.

A sector that must focus on technological innovation

“In the current market, where the Asian presence imposes rules and costs, the shipping industry finds itself having to compete by focusing on technological innovation as a lever of excellence against competition.

The evolution of our industry is moving towards the reduction of emissions to meet the regulatory requirements of the IMO, sustainable mobility by renewing products and infrastructure in terms of alternative fuels, hybrid ships, ships capable of operating without crews or with greatly reduced crews.”

These are the words of Sandro Scarrone, Deputy Vice-President of Confindustria Genova, which well summarise the horizon for shipping.

For this reason, opportunities to discuss the state of the art and the future of the sector are extremely important, and we are sure there will be other opportunities to develop ideas and the desire to work together with Shipping 4.0.

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