As Mr Coles firstly noted

The maritime industry approaches digitalization in a fragmented day.

He continued that one of the biggest challenges the industry faces to day is that technology on ships and in the offices is about changing the behaviours of people in the industry; until understanding the impacts of technology, the industry will continue to develop it In a fragmented way.

To achieve true digitalization, we should completely re-invent the way we operate

The CEO highlighted that how will a company digitalize a ship when the officers aren’t modernized as well; it’s the creation of a complete ecosystem and has to be embraced form the whole environment.

As he continued, 'If you do embrace technology you have to follow the process and then you get the benefits. We don’t do a very good job in convincing that the whole industry has to be re-invented. There’s the realization, that we have to embrace technology, it’s just the question of how do we get there from where we are today.'

Moreover, digitalization in the future of shipping means that there's no room for old attitudes. In other words, he explained, there’s no cyber security problem, there’s the people problem. If the industry trains people for safety, it’s the same principle for many sorts of change management. If we train people the digitalization, based on these principles, will happen naturally.

He continued that the risk of digitalization is if you do not adopt the changes you’ll get out of business; on the contrary the risk of adopting it, in the possibility that you don’t change the human element to adapt to the technology, is that it is a complete waste of money and leads to accidents.

When asked about the connection between people and digitalization, Mr Coles answered

The human element is the key

Meanwhile, he aspires to see a paperless ship, where port information is shared from office ports around the world, and those onboard focus on operating and maintaining the ship. This will allow the master and chief engineer to become more focused and have more competence.

We cant achieve a fully digitalized industry unless we collaborate, both in terms of technology, data and the right way to be structured, while also sharing data and have a traffic control system.

Concluding, in light of the maritime 2050, he added 'Looking 30 years back, lot’s of things have improved but not many things have changed. However, things are moving faster and faster and I’m reluctant to say that we will have unmanned, automated ships and ships that are working with a control center where people collaborate and the industry is much more effective.'