Digitalization and automation: friends or foes? Are they going to help us to move forward?


Dimitris Patrikios, CEO, Kyklades Maritime Corp.

Instead of digitalization and automation, I would use the word modernization and adaptation. We are living in a digital world where we have availability in data; however, we need to change the way people think and use these data within the organizations. That means, from abundance of data, we need to make valuable information. That’s why we must modernize our procedures, and the way we do our business and also adapt ourselves, our employees, our officers and the whole organization to the new reality.

Automation will change the things a lot and will make the life easier for those onboard. I don’t believe that automation will make the human element redundant in the future. We need different kind of skills, so we should train people in the new reality. The things move very rapidly; our generation has witnessed many changes so far, for example 30 years ago the main topic in our industry was the double-hull tankers. With all the changes throughout these years, where we are and how we’ll be in 30 years is very difficult to imagine.

Concluding, the world we live in needs adaptation. Therefore, in turn, we need to change our mind framework for adaptation and modernization of procedures.


Kostas Vlachos, COO, Latsco Marine Management

I believe that digitalization and automation will add value to the shipping operation. We’re trying to benefit from the big data and digitalization in various aspects of operation: we’re trying to have operational flexibility by reducing operating expenses and by applying the big data, we’re trying to have more healthy assets by adopting better maintenance conditions with these data; to apply the condition base maintenance rather than the schedule maintenance and of course we’re trying to optimize the voyage characteristics of our vessel by analyzing the speed and consumption and the time of arrival. However, speed optimization is an item that needs collaboration of more than one parties; the owners, the port and the terminals, because they know the time of availability, the charterers and receivers.

All in all, we’re trying to get these huge benefits from the big data by maximizing the performance in various aspects with the main one, the condition base maintenance.


Above views were presented during a panel discussion at the Hellenic American Maritime Forum, 29-30 May, 2019, Megaron Athens, Greece, organized by SAFETY4SEA and SHIPPINGInsight.