Posidonia 2024 Exhibitors anticipate paradigm shift in Maritime Industry as AI gains traction

The maritime industry, often viewed as conservative and measured in its approach to technological integration, is on the cusp of a transformative era with Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerging as a prominent player. Insights from key exhibitors at the upcoming Posidonia Shipping Εxhibition reveal a new landscape, where industry leaders strategically align with the inexorable rise of AI and consider adopting it already.

According to Theodore Vokos, Managing Director, Posidonia Exhibitions S.A., demand for space from advanced technology and innovation companies providing services to the shipping industry has risen significantly for this summer’s edition of Posidonia, which will be held at the Athens’ Metropolitan Expo Centre from 3 to 7 June.

He said: “A comprehensive report on the future landscape of AI in the maritime sector, titled ‘Out of the box’ and produced by Lloyd’s Register and maritime innovation consultancy Thetius, indicates that the market for AI-driven systems and vessel autonomy is anticipated to achieve a collective value of $5 billion by 2028. According to the report, presently there are already 276 active companies identified in the maritime AI segment. The report underscores the significance of proactive investment by maritime organisations in enhancing their comprehension of AI across various levels. It recommends a strategic focus on workforce education and training initiatives to augment awareness of safety measures and regulations pertinent to advanced technologies within the maritime domain.”

EMMIS MARINE S.A., an industrial manufacturer of premium electrical supply and control solutions, signifies a broader industry sentiment. Andreas Miserlis, Owner & CEO, emphasises the industry's advanced technological standing, where AI is recognised as pivotal in addressing current challenges. Miserlis articulates a proactive stance, with plans to incorporate AI into research and development, aligning technology with industry needs. "AI stands at the forefront of meeting the technological demands of the maritime industry. Our commitment to incorporating AI into our R&D department and production lines reflects our proactive approach to staying ahead in the era of digital transformation,” he said. 

The maritime manufacturing sector in general, also exemplified by Captain Nemo, foresees rapid AI adoption. The emphasis on data analysis and project development reflects a keen awareness of AI's potential to streamline processes and drive innovation. "With early AI projects already underway, we look forward to incorporating AI in data analysis, automating standards, and developing new projects within the maritime manufacturing sector," said Merkouris Panoutsopoulos, CEO of the company which is preparing for its third consecutive participation at Posidonia.

But the adoption of AI is not only limited to the manufacturing sector, but is also rapidly embraced in the services sectors.

According to Bureau Veritas, “AI is already being adopted by the shipping industry. AI investment rates leave little doubt AI is becoming a key enabler in the digitalisation of the shipping industry, offering benefits such as reduced costs, less risk, reduced emissions, improved forecasting, and faster deliveries through optimised routes. As a class society we are using AI to help make our work – and shipping – safer and more efficient.’ said Laurent Hentges, Vice-President, Digital Solutions and Transformation. As a classification society, BV is leveraging data and AI to optimise its operating modes and services to clients. More specifically, AI supports operations in going from fully physical surveys on board a vessel to partly remote and partly augmented surveys, by leveraging data to build over time optimised and predictive survey schemes, by combining data extraction techniques such as OCR with Robotics Process Automation to gain internal efficiency in their processes, and by enabling Generative AI (LLM Large Language Model), hence building chatbots, which help in responding to client technical queries and provide a quicker and better service. 

Verifavia, a company specialising in marine surveying services and auditing, already navigates the challenges and promises of AI. The company believes that AI brings exciting possibilities to shipping, improving navigation, predictive maintenance and compliance. Notably, the company emphasises responsible AI usage, weaving sustainability into the narrative. "At Verifavia, we are using AI where it matters most, especially in voyage optimisation, data quality enhancements and carbon market transparency. We're all about responsible AI, ensuring our solutions contribute to a sustainable future," said Nicolas Duchene, President.

Governmental ship registry services, as embodied by San Marino Ship Register, foresee AI expediting administrative processes and envision that AI will help accelerate ship registration, a testament to the pragmatic applications of AI beyond operational realms. "AI will soon be applied to speed up the process of ship’ registration, bringing efficiency to administrative functions within the maritime sector," said Gianluca Tucci, General Director of the new Registry, which will leverage its participation at Posidonia 2024 to launch its merchant vessel offering.

AI also plays a role in the peripheral services sector of the marine industry, aiding marine travel management companies, like GMT Greece, in predicting travel movements for cost-saving benefits. Additionally, vessel cleaning companies, like Greensea IQ, utilise small robots equipped with AI to enhance the prediction of cleaning routines, enabling more efficient and faster hull cleaning services.

But every revolutionary change has to be approached with care, and companies like N. Bogdanos Marine Bureau Ltd bring a sober perspective to AI in shipping. Adamantios Papapetros, Vice President & CEO, highlights the industry's historical prudence, which will wait for AI technology to be further tested before fully embracing it and applying it on ships. “Shipping historically waits for proven results before adopting new technologies. Applications like unmanned navigation are still away from being applied, however, the lack of skilled seamen will accelerate the introduction of similar applications.” he said.

Drawing from these industry insights and considering broader trends in maritime technology, the future of AI in shipping appears dynamic and transformative. As the industry navigates towards digital maturity, AI is set to play an increasingly pivotal role in optimising operations, ensuring safety, and steering the sector towards a sustainable and technologically advanced future. The Posidonia Shipping Exhibition stands as a testament to the industry's collective recognition of AI's potential, marking the dawn of a new era in maritime innovation.

Posidonia 2024 is organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping and the Union of Greek Shipowners and with the support of the Municipality of Piraeus and the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee. 

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.

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