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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Can shipping move from digital laggard to leader?

Listen to the latest edition of Lloyd’s List’s weekly podcast — your free weekly briefing on the stories shaping shipping

As part of a Lloyd’s List special report on digitalisation in shipping we are looking at shipping’s progress towards efficiency and integration on the podcast this week. Joining Lloyd’s List Editor Richard Meade is Sean Fernback, president of Wärtsilä Voyage, who is a relative newcomer to the sector and offers an outsider’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities that shipping has yet to face


CORONAVIRUS may have catalysed shipping’s digitalisation, but progress has not been uniform and the industry is dividing into the connected ‘haves’, and the analogue ‘have nots’. 

The buzz words and bluster of recent years are finally giving way to tangible investment in platforms, apps and connectivity that are revealing the full extent of cost efficiencies and the competitive advantage now possible.

But not all digital investments are equal. Let’s be clear here — there will be winners and losers in the digital revolution.

Disruptive technology is a given — connected platforms, cloud-based services, mobile devices and apps, sensors and other Internet of Things technologies, augmented reality, autonomous transportation, blockchain technology, big data... the list goes on. They are all finding maritime applications with degrees of success.

But the bigger challenge is not in the hardware or software — to be truly effective, stakeholders have to do more than simply adopt these technologies on their own. Instead, they must embrace platforms and services that make it easier for stakeholders to work together to promote the efficiency of the overall ecosystem.

We are exploring many of these topics and more this week in our digitalisation special report, but we thought it only fitting to kick off our report with a digital themed podcast.

Our guest this week is a relative newcomer to shipping who has the advantage of seeing shipping’s progress from a different perspective.

Sean Fernback, president of Wärtsilä Voyage for the past year, still feels like something of an outsider, but he has quickly clocked the need to understand maritime’s unique challenges. While he’s something of a digital evangelist I think it’s interesting how much of his digital vision for change in the industry is about partnership and collaboration.

He’s also not afraid of thinking about how things could be rather than how they are — listen carefully for his thoughts on why connectivity should perhaps be something that is given away for free in future business models.


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