CMA Conferences: AI, Competitive Instincts, Mental Health and Complexity

Lucinda Lessley – Acting Administrator, US Maritime Administration (MARAD) opened the series of speeches with a tour of the Biden administration’s areas of focus on the transportation sector and a list of investments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars for maritime infrastructure.

Lessley also raised the issue of mental health in the industry, citing a study that found nearly 21% of sailors were at risk for major depressive disorder and 23% at risk for generalized anxiety disorder. “These results are surprising, especially with international studies showing increasing crew shortages, and MARAD is now working with stakeholders to raise awareness of this issue and promote ways seafarers can seek help.”

With a view to easing the burden on decision makers, Stephen McFarlane, CIO of the V. Group, spoke about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to support workers who need to think things through and leverage insights to manage the problems, the “knowledge workers”.

AI holds the promise of relieving information overload on knowledge workers performing repetitive, low-value tasks, delivering insights gleaned from datasets beyond the processing capabilities of humans, and by offering critical information to aid in decision-making, McFarlane said.

“It’s not going to go away. It will evolve; it will be faster to deploy in the future. I encourage everyone to start thinking about how AI can be used to make their operation more efficient, more efficient, safer and a real accelerator for their business,” McFarlane said.

Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen – CEO, Maritime, DNV summarized his keynote address which covered decarbonization, digitalization, security and cross-industry collaboration with a call to action: “If you remember anything from what I said today, remember this, start your energy transition now Energy efficiency and assistive technologies can help you significantly reduce your carbon emissions today.

“Second, let’s remove our competitive instincts and embrace the experience of collaboration. We win by working together, the real fuel of the future is collaboration. And third, safety is the most important factor in ensuring a successful and timely transition to carbon neutrality tomorrow,” Ørbeck-Nilssen said.

Rear Admiral John Mauger – Deputy Commander for Prevention Policy at the USCG discussed the triple threat facing the maritime industry in the United States, the desire to increase capacity, the need to reduce the impact environment and the resulting increase in complexity.

These three factors are reshaping the general work of the coast guard, he said.

Mauger gave many examples of technologies and developments to which the USCG was adapting, from the widespread use of lithium-ion batteries in cargo to the increasing use of waterways, from catastrophic failures of complex ship systems to companies like SpaceX landing rockets on drones in the ocean.

Patrick Ryan, Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology, ABS discussed the potential shift to full well-to-wake emissions accounting for the maritime industry at IMO, and the factors driving ESG for ships in less regulated inland waterways.

“You see, just as safety is becoming more and more synonymous with security and reliability, financial performance is increasingly synonymous with ESG excellence. And so, just as ISM is the future framework for safety and In shipping security, ESG is the future framework for business in shipping, and both are blueprints for the sustainable future of our industry in terms of safety, operations and business performance.

“And so, if you don’t know your upstream emissions profile today, you most likely will know by this time next year. It’s clear today that knowing the answer is no longer just a marker of sustainability stewardship, but an increasingly intricate aspect of doing business – whether on the lakes, brown waters, blue waters, east coast, west coast or gulf – this is a reflection of an organization’s commitment to being ready to thrive in the new maritime normal,” said Ryan.

Sharon D. Cole