Digitization solutions, such as big data, blockchain, automation, drones, and robotics, are enabling the maritime freight industry to utilize innovative approaches that will reduce or eliminate non-value-added activities.

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These technologies will benefit the industry, especially considering the fact that global maritime freight transportation revenue is expected to grow from $166 billion last year to over $205 billion in 2023.

In order to achieve this, the industry will have to work with partners within and outside the industry, and startups in connectivity, AI, and more, Susan Beardslee, principal analyst at ABI Research, believes.

This is not a future situation, as examples like Wärtsilä’ s acquisition of Transas supports an intelligent maritime ecosystem and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Orange Business Service's deal with Cargotec can advance smart cargo handling.

In addition, IBM collaborated with Maersk on blockchain as well as with Cisco on smart connected ports, while Microsoft is partnering with OOCL on AI for maritime. Moreover, electrification is growing as efforts by Guangzhou Shipyard International Company, Port Liner, and Torqueedo, show.

However, maritime cyber security also needs to be updated in order to address current and future threats. This is expected to increase global spend to US$1.7 billion in 2023.