I still believe that the shipping industry needs to understand that new scenarios of life are coming in. We like it or not, society is driving trade. Society drives the way we think and the way we behave.


There is nothing wrong with resistance to change, as long as we know that change exists, therefore you will adapt to the change anyhow. How long might that take depends on where you are and by who you are being influenced. For example, if you live in the UK, change will come much faster than in you live in Cyprus. But, if you are a global industry that doesn’t make any sense because your clients are global and they will influence you at any moment.

The realities of yesterday reflect that not many things have changed concerning the future of ports. Yet, in today’s reality vessels do carry the bulk of the world trade; that will not change. But also, ports facilitate the smooth transition from sea to shore and that is something that we have to take a much closer understanding of. Ports are not today as they used to be. For sure, they influence the movement of ships. If you back to 1920, I don’t think that the Port of Rotterdam was competing continuously with the port of Antwerp in such a way. But today, they’re actually competing like two competitors selling the same products, although they are not in the same country. Not to mention that sometimes we see ports in Asia competing to ports in Europe.

People on the other hand are the necessary actors that are required to operate the ships and the ports in order to complete this enormous and indispensable seamless transition. We keep saying do we have autonomous ships today? My answer is yes, nearly 100%. There’s autonomy on everything, on equipment onboard of the ship. There’s no integrated autonomy, therefore we still need people.

If I don’t have a fully integrated autonomous ship, I need people; namely, I still need the pilots and captains due to social reasons; the society demands them. And also because we are superior to the machine; thus we have to be there to supervise it.

Actually, I don’t see much difference to the modern view of ports. Same, people aren’t there, ships are there. The trade carriage has changed with the containers, as we didn’t see containers before and we also see different kinds of equipment.  But we have to make sure that the modern and past view of ports have differences and look similar.

They are living around the society’s perception and the society’s realities. We have people say to stop the cruises because we have many passengers and guests and it get overcrowded.   We have other people saying to stop creating ports since they need the land for farming. And there are other people saying to save our ports.  These people are you and me. We are not going to change.  And one of the real realities today is instant gratification.

We are rapidly approaching the instant gratification inflection point. We want everything yesterday. That means that what you know today might not value for tomorrow.

What we need is to

  • Optimization of capacity utilization
  • Save money and time for involved actors
  • Just-in-time Arrivals/Departures
  • Shorten total turn-around time
  • Enhanced utilization of resources
  • Facilitate collaboration and information sharing
  • Provide Situational awareness among involved stakeholders
  • Enhance predictability of port call operations.

This is directly on ports and on ships.

Another thing that continuously is hitting the industry is regulation. That cannot be sustainable in the new scenario because 2020 will change things. Therefore, we have to think if we need this regulator as continuously as prescriptive way of doing things or shall we start acting and do something.

The new scenario is based on

  • The concept of ‘I want Everything Now’ continues to prevail;
  • Society is becoming more and more sensitive on environmental and wel being issues;
  • Shipping norms need to be Revisited modernization as a necessity.

I don’t believe in the quote ‘Change the model’. If it works, why do you have to change it? If something works you stick on the knitting, meaning that you can diversify, revisit your model, modernize your model or even post-modernize the model.

In conclusion, new society realities are calling upon a new “re-thought” model in shipping. The new digital era in connection with new thinking in relation to enforceable instruments can provide the way forward. Let’s use technology and automation. Shipping will remain of fundamental importance for the wellbeing of communities, the world trade and shipping in general. In 2020s scenario, shipping will see the rise of economic instruments which can provide more flexibility for polluters to find low-cost opportunities to reduce negative environmental impacts.


Above text is an edited version of Mr. Andrea Chrysostomou’s presentation during the 2019 SMART4SEA CONFERENCE.

View his presentation here.

The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of  SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.

Mr. Chrysostomou is a seasoned professional in the shipping industry. He holds an MBA (Masters in business administration) and he graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, with a Bachelor of Engineering in naval architecture and shipbuilding.  Mr. Chrysostomou, in his  long standing career, before joining Tototheo Maritime as CSO,  was the Director of the Department of Merchant Shipping, (the Maritime Authority of Cyprus), CEO of Transmed shipping Co. Ltd. And Act. Secretary General of CLIA Europe. He also held senior management roles in fields such as safety and security, protection of the marine environment and administration. He also served as the elected Chairman of the Design and Equipment Subcommittee of the IMO and of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), one of the main Committees at IMO. He was twice elected and re-elected Chairman of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (a UN agency) and served as member of the Board of Governors of the World Maritime University (WMU). He also served as President of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMAREST).