From Brig to Autonomous ship

By Constantine Komodromos
September 23, 2016

Last Saturday a team from VesselBot had the opportunity to participate at a conference held in Hydra organized by the Fraternity of the Athenian Hydriots, a renowned for its shipping traditions island, that was related to Digitalization within the Greek shipping industry, the perception of Greek ship owners about it and the level of penetration within their business model.

A number of influential people participated in the panel style discussions such as Dr. Coustas the CEO of Danaos Corporation, Mr. Boudouroglou the CEO of Paragon Shipping Inc, Mr. Pittas the CEO Euroseas, the renowned economist Dr. Martin Stopford, Dr.​Ioannis Theotokas, Secretary General of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, and George D. Pateras the President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping.

The discussion revolved around the introduction of technologies both on board as well as ashore, and how advanced the technologies used by Greek shipping companies are. Moreover, a significant amount of time was spent discussing how a Greek Ship Owner chooses to introduce technology in its operations, and where they perceive themselves to be positioned in regards to the level of technology penetration in the Greek market.

Dr. Stopford during the very interesting discussion was evidently stating that given the way that the general economy throughout the globe is underperforming, as well as the fact that many other industries have introduced significant technological changes to their business models Shipping will need to follow suit. Dr. Coustas a technology person himself was almost on the same side however with a small twist stating that technology by itself without an actual benefit to the organization is of no value.

The key taking of the discussion was that although Greek owners are willing to introduce technology in their operating models they have to see a clear value proposition, as well as that they feel that they are technologically advanced compared to their peers in other ship owning countries.

Our belief is that Greek ship owners do introduce technology though with a slower pace than their peers, based on what we have seen happening abroad in similar companies especially within those of Central-North Europe. There is a clear trend towards digitalization of business models however there is still some reluctance to fully embark on business models that are driven in their entirety by technology. However, it seems that we are going through a period of time where lots of changes will occur within the market, changing significantly its modus operandi and the balances within the market.

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