A new report by the World Bank and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) shows that better digital collaboration between private and public entities across the maritime supply chain will result in significant efficiency gains, safer and more resilient supply chains, and lower emissions.
The report, entitled Accelerating Digitalization: Critical Actions to Strengthen the Resilience of the Maritime Supply Chain, describes how collaborative use of digital technology can help streamline all aspects of maritime transport, from cross-border processes and documentation to communications between ship and shore, with a special focus on ports.
Although the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has made it mandatory for all its member countries to exchange key data electronically via the FAL convention, a recent IAPH survey reveals that only a third of over 100 responding ports comply with that requirement. The main barriers to digitalise cited by the ports were the legal framework in their countries or regions and persuading the multiple private-public stakeholders to collaborate, not the technology.
Digitalisation is not just a matter of technology but, more importantly, of change management, data collaboration, and political commitment
The report analyses numerous technologies applied already by some from the world’s leading port and maritime communities, including big data, the internet of things (IoT), fifth-generation technology (5G), blockchain solutions, wearable devices, unmanned aircraft systems, and other smart technology-based methods to improve performance and economic competitiveness.
“In many of our client countries, inefficiencies in the maritime sector result in delays and higher logistics costs, with an adverse impact on the entire economy. Digitisation gives us a unique chance to address this issue,” noted Makhtar Diop, World Bank vice president for infrastructure. “Beyond immediate benefits to the maritime sector, digitalisation will help countries participate more fully in the global economy, and will lead to better development outcomes.”
“Digitalisation is not just a matter of technology but, more importantly, of change management, data collaboration, and political commitment,” commented IAPH’s managing director of policy and strategy, Dr Patrick Verhoeven.