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Top 6 SHOCKING news of INNOVATION in 2018 that will shape the future of maritime in 2019 & beyond

2019 is here, and maritime executives world-wide seem to wonder the same thing every year:

“What is the next big thing? Where does the industry go from here? What are the best inventions that will drive company profits and improve operations efficiency in 2019?”

To answer these questions, it is important to keep a close eye on great inventions or innovations in the past year. Carefully plan for these next-generation technologies, and their impact on the industry as a whole.

Businesses in today’s era face great change and disruption all the time, so it is important to stay on top of your game – to learn, adapt and grow quickly. As the saying goes,

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”.

top 6 marine innovation news in 2018

2018 was a year of amazing inventions & innovations, especially in port tech, shipbuilding, shipping

2018 has seen no shortage of massive and amazing (in some cases, shocking) news in the maritime industry (ports, shipping, shipbuilding etc).

From futuristic zero-emission water taxi developments; new maritime strategic plans by nations; to the introduction of new cyber security technologies, there are some amazing headlines in 2018 that might shape the future of our industry.

In this article, we take a look back at a roundup of some of the most notable ones, so industry leaders like you get a quick recap at the biggest innovation news this past year:

top news about maritime shipbuilding port shipping innovation


Photo credits MPA Singapore

1. Singapore launches new plan ITM to strengthen nation as Global Maritime Hub

The year 2018 started off with a significant announcement by one of the world’s top maritime nation.

Singapore introduced a new plan called the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in January 2018.

The plan is developed by the MPA (Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore), with the ultimate aim to by 2025, grow the sector’s value-add by SGD 4.5 Billion and create more than 5,000 jobs.

Many industry partners, unions and other government agencies are included as partners in the plan to implement specific initiatives to:-

  • catalyse and drive innovation
  • increase productivity/ improvements
  • enhance skill level of the Singaporean maritime workforce

Notable announcements include stating their intent to work with industry to develop port eco-system in adjacent sectors like logistics and e-commerce.

Singapore will also invest in new port capabilities that will capitalise on emerging technologies, for example in Tuas Port. The statement claims that Tuas Port will be a smart port, or in their own words, an ‘efficient and intelligent port’, fully harnessing data, and maximising the use of analytics in order to optimise operations like just-in-time vessel arrivals, and the ‘Maritime Single Window’ for quicker port clearance.

The official media release of the plan can be found HERE. Feel free to read more.



Photo credits Seabubbles

2. Electric Taxi “Seabubbles” Demo in Lake Geneva

In the development of new forms of transportation, Seabubbles’s partnership with ABB attempt to provide more options for marine transport, protecting the environment and urban infrastructure.

This electric hydrofoil water taxi design has a grand aim: to make urban marine transport 100% emission free.

In April 2018, this innovative ‘water-taxi’ was making waves in Switzerland during tests on Lake Geneva as the company prepare to launch a taxi service in the region.

This is seen as a huge milestone for many, making news not just in Switzerland, but all around the world. 2019 is here, and it remains to be seen how smoothly their plan is progressing.

While you’re at it, just check out this video to show you how cool it looks:


Photo credits DNV GL

3. DNV GL Releases First Cyber Security Class Notations

In Posidonia trade fair in June 2018, a first class notations to help protect marine assets from cyber security incidents was introduced by classification society DNV GL.

The new class notations “Cyber secure” is said to be able to help shipowners and operators protect vital systems from cyber security threats.

Cyber resilience is vital in today’s maritime world because of the inter connectivity of various machinery and systems on a vessel.

Full press report available at Marine Link. Official article from DNV GL is available here.


Photo credits BitcoinExchangeGuide

4. UK’s ABP officially exploring blockchain use case

The talk of blockchain and its potential impact on maritime & global trade has long generated buzz in the industry since the rise of Bitcoin.

In September 2018, however, UK’s port operator the Associated British Ports (ABP) who operates 21 ports across the UK, signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with digital logistics enabler Marine Transport International (MTI) on officially exploring the implementation of blockchain tech to improve port operations.

If you are unfamiliar with blockchain tech, some of the potential benefits of blockchain tech include more clarity, transparency, safety, and more.

But it remains to be seen whether there will be any concrete implementation coming up in the near future, or will adoption take much longer than expected.

If all goes smoothly, this might have a huge positive impact on global trade and shipping operations in 2019 and beyond.

Regardless, blockchain technology is slowly trending in the right direction, in spite of the bear market in the crypto asset space in general.

ABP’s statement available at ABP website here.


Photo credits [email protected]

5. More Hybrid-powered ships are getting launched.

There is no denying that hybrid-powered ships are the (immediate) future.

For years, shipyards have put a great deal of emphasis in designing ultra-efficient hull shapes, use hybrid-powering technologies and reduce carbon emission in many innovative ways.

While it is still unrealistic to expect full-electric powered large ships to conquer the oceans, hybrid-powered ships are already massively lowering fuel consumption needs and minimising carbon footprint to a very respectable level. It is an immediate (and effective) solution to our shipping environmental concerns.

If you’re interested to learn more, here’s an extensive article about green ships and technologies like solar-sail system, improved hull design & paint, green propulsion tech, advanced rudder and propeller design, optimised cooling system and ultra-efficient electrical system on board etc.

Some of the notable launches of these hybrids are:-


The MS Roald Amundsen for Hurtigruten

In February 2018, built for Hurtigruten (Norwegian cruise line), the MS Roald Amundsen was launched at Kleven Yards on the 17th February 2018. MS Roald Amundsen is:

  • 140m in length
  • 23.6m in width
  • able to accommodate 530 passengers
  • able to lower fuel consumption & Carbon dioxide emissions by more than 20%, made possible using hybrid tech combined with advanced hull design and efficient electricity consumption.



The Largest U.S.-Built Containership – Daniel K.Inouye in Hawaii

Meet ‘Daniel K. Inouye’, the largest containership ever built in the United States of America. This vessel was built at Philly Shipyard for U.S. carrier Matson, named in honor of Hawaii’s late senior U.S. Senator. News reports in July 2018.

  • Built with LNG-compatible engines. Proudly dubbed the next generation of vessel and sets a new standard for cargo transportation in Hawaii.
  • The vessel weighs over 51,400 metric tons, is about 260m long and has a capacity of about 3,600 TEUs.
  • Top speed of nearly 24 knots.
  • Various innovative systems are built into the vessel to be more fuel efficient.


Photo credits SRTI

6. Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative (SRTI) platform launched

On Dec 10th 2018, Industry leaders and non-profit the Sustainable Shipping Initiative announced the launch of the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative’s (SRTI) online platform – a tool for sharing information on ship recycling to drive responsible practice.

Founding signatories include:

  • The China Navigation Company
  • Hapag-Lloyd AG,
  • A.P. Moeller-Maersk,
  • Stolt Tankers
  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen
  • GES
  • Nykredit
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Lloyd’s Register
  • Non-profit Forum for the Future.

This online platform is for shipping industry companies to disclose and share relevant information on responsible ship recycling matters at https://www.shiprecyclingtransparency.org/


That sums up six of the largest headlines in innovation in the industry that we notice happened in 2018. Of course, there might have been some that we missed, so do let us know if you have any to share!

We are all excited for 2019, and the innovation it brings!

Feel free to share & like this article if you like it. Here’s a video about it!


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