In 2020, global maritime trade plunged by 4.1%, due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19. This year, however, maritime trade growth is expected to return and expand by 4.8% — provided that the industry can equip itself to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world.

Two technology landscapes are expected to emerge, with the first area related to how other sectors can improve ship system design and operation. For example, the growth of well-equipped international logistics hubs can boost maritime progress by enabling seamless sea/air and air/sea transfers.

The second area is more concerned about using sophisticated maritime technology for improved operations. Recent technological developments in maritime navigation can improve shipping efficiency, reduce the risk of accidents, and even reduce emissions. With this in mind, here are three maritime tech developments to watch out for:


Instead of waiting for USB sticks or CDs to be delivered on-board to get updated charts before a voyage, electronic navigation provider NAVTOR recently developed NavBox, which can automate the distribution of navigational data for faster planning. The new data is pushed over existing SATCOM systems to NavBox, keeping vessels fully compliant with administrative work.
As an integrated software and hardware solution, NavBox automatically updates digital charts and navigational data. This allows shipping companies to thrive in agile environments, letting crew members access all related data within a product or service lifecycle. With integrated data, processes, business systems, and people, there’s unrivaled transparency, which only makes for better management and robust communication. The NavBox also increases overall cybersecurity for the files on board.

Telenor's Maritime Connectivity Platform

Radio technology has long been the standard means of communications, with both single vessels and entire fleets using this avenue to share data, execute routine operations, and send out distress signals. However, it has also been fraught with the vulnerabilities that come from an outdated tool like signal disruptions.

As a response to this plight, KNL Networks, which itself is owned by one of the world’s top mobile operators Telenor ASA, introduced the Telenor Maritime Connectivity Platform (TMCP). This completely scalable solution marries multiple back-haul servers onto a single unified hub. This is meant to address the aforementioned outdated communication issues, while still referencing older solutions that mariners are more familiar with. For instance, TMCP makes use of a radio frequency design for PCBs to eliminate interference and lower latency. Notably, KNL can use their routing processes to integrate even 3rd party equipment and enable them to receive IoT data using high frequency radio software with an extended range of almost 10,000 km so travelling vessels can communicate and share data in real-time.

Orca AI

Orca AI is a deep-learning navigation tool and vessel tracking system that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to identify and classify vessels on water, regardless of the light and weather conditions. Although most cargo ships carry security cameras, many marine incidents can be caused by human error. Retrofitting vessels with computer-vision cameras can support ships in difficult-to-navigate situations and congested waterways.

Vision sensors, thermal sensors, and low-light cameras work together with the algorithm to check the environment and alert crews to potential danger. The Orca AI is expected to predict hazards and reduce collisions among ships, as smart alarms will sound automatically when the AI-system detects significant risks among passing vessels and grounding obstacles in shallow waters. Integrating vessels with the Orca AI system can assist crews in managing moonless nights, fog, and storms, while detecting multiple passing vessels at once.

Aquarius MRE System

An energy-efficient ship can greatly minimize difficulties in navigation. Instead of planning chart routes that consume the least amount of fuel or scheduling regular fuel-stops, ship crews can meet schedules faster and avoid the potential problems that come with docking. Eco Marine Power’s Aquarius Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) solution aims to decrease maritime consumption when it comes to fuel and emissions.

Instead of trying to cut down on a ship’s energy consumption — which may vary depending on ship design, the number of energy consumers, and highly variable conditions like wave resistance — the Aquarius MRE can simply harness renewable energy from the wind and sun to power ships. Marine-grade solar panels and frames, energy-storage modules, and automated alarm monitoring systems allow ships to generate their own energy through different sensors and photovoltaic panels. By equipping vessels with the hardware needed to harvest renewable energy, Aquarius MRE can also simplify navigation concerns. – Your one-stop solution for freight software needs. Follow us on Linkedin, Twitter.