The Future of Shipping: 6 Trends to Expect in the Coming Years

Shipping is one of the oldest industries in the world, much older than the airplane and the automobile sectors. And through that time, shipping has greatly improved as it embraces technology to keep up with the times. Now ships can be tracked in real-time, and the building practices have also gone a step higher, allowing for bigger ships to be built, increasing the carrying capacity, thus raising profits. 

But how will that industry look like in the future? The following are some of the expected changes and innovations that the shipping industry is expected to embrace in the next 20-50 years. 

Introduction of Megaships

We have already witnessed ships with sizes that defy the human imagination in the form of the titanic. As building technologies advance, ships are getting bigger and better, and it is expected that in the near future, these sizes will reach proportions that are beyond our current imagination. The container shipping industry is expected to feature ships bigger than the current record holder that is the MOL Triumph, which measures 400m long and can carry over 20,000 containers. 

The bigger the ship gets, the lower the transportation costs as they will be able to carry more load reducing the need to take multiple trips. We can only marvel at the seizes that these mega container ships will look like in the near future.

Automated Construction

Constructing a single container ship takes a lot of time, manpower, and resources. A lot of research is done beforehand to get the best raw materials as well as figure out the science right for it to stand a chance of ever operating on the rough seas around the planet. When you add the error factor that is common when human hands are involved, then you have yourself a mountain that’s almost insurmountable.

But when automation is involved, the odds even out. The use of precise industrial robots will increase the efficiency, speed, safety standards, and overall performance of the entire ship significantly. Automated functions like the use of robotic aluminum welding instead of human hands or the utilization of high-level computers to detect any flaws in the system will raise the quality threshold, making future ships better at their jobs.

Greener Shipping

The race to save the world from global warming has been heating up for years, and if the signs are to go by, that’s not likely to change in the future. As cars are switching from using fossil fuels to electricity, the shipping industry is also leaning towards a future that is more greener through the use of sustainable fuels that are less harmful to the ecosystem. 

As part of the changes, there’s research being conducted by stakeholders in the shipping industries to develop low carbon fuels that emit fewer greenhouse gases, the development of better building designs that streamline the ships, making them use less energy than before, as well as improved voyage planning through the use of technology to make fuel use more efficient for every single trip.

Other design-related changes that have been suggested include the creation of better hulls with stronger protective coatings and the addition of air cushions to rescue the friction between the ship and the water.

Solar and Wind Power

When man first got into shipping, he harnessed the power of the wind to propel the ships forward, but this was not very efficient as it depended on the weather conditions. This is what led to fossil fuels taking over. But with that now on the backfoot of civilization, the shipping industry is starting to look back to the wind and solar energy as possible sources of energy for powering the giant ships in the future. Wind and solar power will always be there at all times, and with the right equipment, they can be harnessed indefinitely as the permanent sources of power for the ships. 

The technology is already in use. The Turanor PlanetSolar is a ship that is powered by a combination of over 29,000 solar cells that are charged by the sun, and it has already circumnavigated the globe on that alone. Future ships will be able to make use of the wind and solar energies in a more efficient way.

Digital Sensoring

The ocean is a big place, a fact that is lost to many people, and the realization that we already have technologies that are able to accurately pinpoint where a ship is at any point in time is already amazing in its own right. Based on the ongoing trends, it is easy to figure out how advanced digital censoring will be in the next ten years. The technology will be advanced to the level where AI can be used to check for faults on the ship as well as handle the other tasks that may be too advanced for people.


Shipping will always be part of civilization as it is the only mode of transport that can take huge loads from one end of the world to the next at half the costs of the other modes of transportation. As technology continues to improve, the shipping industry will also get to the next level by leaps and bounds.

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