How will the global supply and demand of seafarers evolve,What skills will seafarers need in the future?
What is the possible situation of seafarer supply in 2020 and beyond? What kind of ability does the future seafarer need to master to avoid being eliminated? What should schools, seafarers training and seafarer recruitment agencies pay attention to?
In the past 30 years, seafarers from OECD countries have been gradually squeezed out of the shipping market by seafarers from Asia and other non OECD Eastern European countries. At present, seafarers from the Philippines, China, India, Ukraine, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria have become the main choice of most international shipowners, because the use of seafarers from these countries can minimize the cost of ship operation at the wage level.
So, which countries' seafarers can better maintain or even obtain more market share in the future shipping market? What will be the future global supply and demand situation of seafarers?
The economic status (per capita GDP) and population of a country will have an important impact on the supply and demand market of global seafarers in the future. Providing seafarers to international shipowners is a profitable business. Remittances from seafarers to their countries have made a significant contribution to the economies of the Philippines, India and Ukraine. The Philippines, India and Ukraine will remain the most important providers of seafarers in the next 10 years, and African countries will strive to join the competition.
Any country that wishes to retain or increase its market share must conduct a further optimization review of its maritime education and training system to enable its seafarers to keep up with changes in the industry. As we are seeing and will see, the shipping industry is changing very fast. If a country can't keep up with the trend and change quickly enough, its seafarers will be gradually abandoned by the global shipping industry.
From the perspective of ships alone, earth shaking changes have taken place in the past 30 years. In the 1970s and 1980s, the world's shipping industry was dominated by general cargo ships. However, today's ultra large container ships with a maximum container capacity of more than 21000 TEU and 400000 tons of ultra large ore carriers have already galloped in the oceans of all continents in the world. The unmanned cabin, which has been highly automated by electronic control, has also replaced the traditional cabin which used to feel stuffy and noisy. Sextant and paper chart have been or will be replaced by GPS / GLONASS (even Beidou) and ECDIS. Morse code? This old communication mechanism has begun to be replaced by VSAT. At present, some ships have realized the use of wechat WhatsApp and other chat tools for ship shore communication.
The emergence of land driven autopilot and long-range UAVs has also begun to impact on the marine industry. In recent years, the discussion of unmanned ships has also started to surge in the shipping industry. The focus of the debate on unmanned ship has shifted from "whether" to "when". When? Tomorrow or 40 years later? It just depends on the choice of shipping industry, which development direction, whether to pursue innovation or pragmatism, that's all.
Pradeep Chawla, general manager of China UK ship management, the world's top ship management company, said, "I predict that semi autonomous ships will soon become a reality. The ship can set up this semi-automatic mode on the open sea channel. Initially, such a voyage could be carried out under the supervision of an assigned officer on duty. With the growth of confidence, for example, in ten years, open sea navigation will be realized without the need for duty personnel to drive. Like the automotive industry, the technology will be validated first before it can address regulatory and other issues. Then, in the next 30 to 40 years, we may see widespread adoption of such vessels. "
In the next 50 years, the shipping industry will change rapidly. Our common responsibility is to recruit the right students into our industry, educate them and train them to adapt to the future.
So, what challenges will the seafarer recruitment and training industry face in these transition periods? It is obvious that seafarers in the future need to learn more about new technologies and their limitations. Seafarers need to open their arms to the new technologies of the future, rather than being conservative opponents of technology. Using remote sensor data to diagnose problems will soon replace the old days of sledgehammers hitting, touching and feeling machines. Human experience will be helped by new machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. It is worth noting that engineering skills are still required, but with the heavy work of developing major engine units, engineers will need to know more about automation and electronic systems that are changing with each passing day.
In addition, environmental regulations will become more and more stringent, consistent with those of other industries around the world. Seafarers will be responsible for the environment of the future. The ship will use environmentally friendly fuel.
The traffic separation system will evolve into a maritime channel strictly controlled by the ship traffic center. In the next 20 years or so, these control centers may still act as "advisers" in law. Seafarers will play a more obedient role, but they still need to take ultimate responsibility for the safety of their ships.
With the continuous development of the shipping industry to modernization, the number of ship Manning has dropped from dozens of people before to about 20 at present. Although it seems that we are approaching the end of the scale of reducing personnel, as the semi autonomous ship becomes a reality, shipowners will inevitably hope to further reduce the number of personnel. The mode of navigation may be further developed, and some seafarers will base their work mainly on shore operation centers. In the next 50 years, the shipping industry will certainly change rapidly.
IMO and industry associations will need to take the lead in these changes. The education and training industry should be at the forefront of understanding the development of our industry. This means that if education and training are to be relevant to the needs of the industry, then the current curriculum and curriculum model will need to be changed rapidly.
It also means that the seafarer recruitment industry needs to carefully study the technical skills they need to ensure that they are relevant to the technical capabilities required in the future.
In order to develop successful seafarers, we also need to teach them appropriate behavioral skills. Our world has changed. Dialogue has been replaced by wechat, Facebook, instagram and Vimeo. The values of obedience and respect have also been entangled with more "why?".
This can be a great challenge for future instructors / mentors / trainers, but remember that the approach used is only a means to achieve the goal - the ability to operate a ship safely and effectively.
Of course, the methods used in specific teaching and training can be changed, improvised or arbitrarily combined according to students' background, age and learning style. As we step into the future, rapid changes will bring more challenges to the shipping industry. It's going to take more of us.
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