Manila, June 27, 2023 – Stakeholders from the maritime industry convened today in Manila to address the critical shortage of staff at sea in the shipping sector. The gathering aimed to tackle the pressing issue that has raised concerns about the future of the industry. Coinciding with the event, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU) jointly released a comprehensive report titled “Transport 2040 – Impact of Technology on Seafarers – The Future of Work,” which includes a unique technology roadmap.
The technology roadmap, presented during the International Chamber of Shipping’s (ICS) “Shaping the Future of Shipping” event in Manila, was the result of an empirical collaboration among stakeholders and experts, many of whom possess seafaring experience. Over the course of three workshops, a diverse group of 50 experts from various maritime backgrounds, including technologists, academia, NGOs, shipping companies, and regulators, identified the top 10 industry trends, future shipping technologies, and necessary policies to facilitate technology adoption.
The roadmap encompasses aggregated technologies that are interdependent on the development of other technological advancements. The report highlighted that these interconnected technologies have the potential to revolutionize ship design, construction, and operations. Key drivers of this technological interoperability and integration include autonomous decision-making and artificial intelligence. However, the successful implementation of these technologies is contingent upon the adoption of appropriate regulatory frameworks, global standardizations, and enhanced cooperation among maritime stakeholders, as emphasized in the report.
In a show of commitment to the industry’s future, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos also attended the summit and encouraged delegates to envision and shape the industry and global trade for the next 25 years. President Marcos emphasized the importance of identifying the skills required for the new generation of ships, discussing education and training requirements, and ensuring a fair and just transition to foster a future-ready and resilient shipping industry.
Simultaneously, at the same event, the ICS unveiled a video titled “An Adventurous Spirit” to showcase the diverse and captivating career opportunities in seafaring. The initiative aims to attract more individuals to the industry and address the urgent need for an estimated 90,000 certified officers by 2026 to meet the operational demands of the world merchant fleet.
Natalie Shaw, Director of Employment Affairs at the ICS, expressed concerns about the recruitment crisis facing the shipping industry. Shaw emphasized the goal of distinguishing seafaring as an appealing career choice by providing an insider’s perspective through the video. The production features seafarers openly discussing their jobs, the challenges they face, and the opportunities available in the field.
As the maritime summit in Manila progresses, industry leaders and stakeholders remain committed to finding solutions to the staffing shortage and embracing the transformative potential of emerging technologies. The concerted efforts demonstrated during this event underscore the determination to propel the shipping industry forward while addressing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.