During the past few years, the international team at ICAT Logistics has witnessed and participated in major maritime trends — containerization and globalization, to name two —that are reshaping our industry.

The maritime industry continues to evolve.  As a result, the outlook for companies sending and receiving freight across international waters, or thinking about it, is also evolving and improving.   Here are four positive ocean shipping trends destined to influence our industry in the near future.

Big Data

The sky’s no longer the limit for big data advances to increase shippers’ constant connection to their valuable freight – even while at sea.  Beamed down from a series of well-positioned satellites known as the Automated Identification System, ship data will be integrated with a company’s specific freight documentation to offer a real-time picture of pricing and marketing trends as they evolve.

The Benefits:  Freight visibility, risk mitigation, fair pricing, customer service.

Huge Hulls

During the past 12 years there has been a 180 percent increase in containerized shipping worldwide – with a jump of about 275 percent in China alone.  That trend continues.  When coupled with the expansion of the Panama Canal that can now accommodate megaships and the steady growth of automated loading and unloading, we’re seeing major shipping companies confident to build bigger vessels that handle more containers faster.

The Benefits: Greater capacity, speedier delivery, price containment for international freight shipments.

Specialized Carriers

Not all shipments are the same, nor do they necessarily fit into a container.  And although specialized vessels are not as plentiful as container ships, ship builders have begun investing in them to meet the needs of the heavy-lifting, chemical and other industries that require custom space and crew skills for special shipments.

The Benefits:  A crew that gains experience with certain freight types; more capacity for non-container shipments.

Going Greener

For companies committed to a more environmentally sound approach, this trend to go greener promises to help reduce your company’s carbon footprint once your freight is on route to its final destination.   Shipping companies are not only improving engine and propeller performance, they are adding air cushions and skysails to help reduce sulphur and carbon emissions.

The Benefits:  Helps customers and populations struggling with pollution and other environmental issues; the increased emphasis on sustainability and running green can only have a positive impact.

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