The 3 Biggest Challenges Facing the Marine Industry

As the marine industry enters the first year of the roaring 20s, it faces uncharted waters.

There are many questions with uncertain answers. How will Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (Iot) impact the industry? How will companies recruit the next generation of employees? Will the tightening of regulations put to squeeze on profit margins?

Here’s a brief look at each of these major issues.

Biggest challenges facing the marine industry - 32133Technology

The need for the latest, most durable, and the most robust technology has been a constant in this sector for some time. Today’s ships are heavily equipped with the latest waterproof computers and avionics/navigation equipment. Technology that performs in the most extreme conditions is no longer a competitive advantage—it’s a must.

Right now, the experts are divided on how AI, the IoT, automation, and the prospect of unmanned vessels will play out over the next few years.

However, we are already seeing more companies leverage big data to make more informed decisions about their operational efficiency. Meanwhile, the marine sector is starting to embrace cloud technology, and it’s been estimated that 25% of daily working time can be saved by using cloud fleet management software, with employees no longer wasting time by requesting, seeking or validating data.

Recruitment and Retention

Marine companies have faced issues in recent years recruiting and retaining high-quality employees to work on their ships. However, the biggest human capital issue they’re facing could be filling crucial sales positions.

The current Millennial-aged workforce has shown far less interest in sales positions, as a whole, compared to their GenX and Baby Boomer predecessors. Sales jobs are often a Millenial’s Plan B or Plan C, while sales managers in all sectors scramble to attract the talent that is out there.

This leaves companies in the marine sector trying to fill highly-niche (but high-paying) sales positions.

Environmental Regulations

First and foremost, in April of 2018, The International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced an initial strategy to reduce at least 50% greenhouse gas emissions (compared to 2008) from the global shipping sector by 2050.

The industry is also facing new regulations imposing a low sulphur cap for fuel emissions from the start of 2020, as a part of IMO’s 2020 program that seeks to reduce sulphur emissions from marine transport by 80%.

These moves are undoubtedly good for the industry and the planet, as all eyes are on the marine sector to run leaner and cleaner. However, this does put a lot of pressure on companies to be compliant (or better) with their emissions. There can be long-term cost-savings associated with switching to more sustainable technology, but this still represents a major investment for many companies.

However, the cost of not meeting these regulations is much higher. Besides punitive punishment by governing bodies, companies that fall behind face a tarnished brand, which has major implications on both their future income and their recruitment.

Of course, these are only a few of the challenges that the modern company faces in the marine sector. While most experts are divided on how things will play out, few can deny that the next 10 years will be massive in shaping what the next 100 will look like.

What will they look like for your company?

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Interesting related article: “What is Shipping?