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Wärtsilä: Maritime progress at risk over fears of digitalization

18 January 2023

Despite 78% of industry professionals agreeing that change and technological innovation is a positive thing for the maritime industry, almost half (45%) admit to having a volatile attitude towards technology and over a third (36%) say they are actively resistant to change—according to the Debunking the Mythical Beasts of Maritime Digital Transformation report by Wärtsilä. The report also reveals that as many as 18% do not think that the industry is unified in its understanding of digitalization and why it is needed.

The research shines a light on these fears and misunderstandings, with over two thirds (68%) of industry professionals believing that the ability to digitalize existing infrastructure and retrofit vessels is challenging, and over half (56%) agreeing that the time and cost implications involved with digital transformation projects are too high. On top of that, 63% believe that there is a lack of skills and knowledge among seafarers to fulfill the requirements of new technologies.

However, the research also revealed that 70% of industry professionals have a very clear understanding of why digitalization is needed and of its benefits. 69% of respondents believe that collaboration between industry players could be improved, with 88% agreeing that this would be key to making digital transformation a reality. Significantly, 64% of respondents recognize that people are more crucial to digital transformation than technology, therefore without buy-in from a larger proportion of maritime industry professionals from the outset, successful digital transformation will not be possible.

Wärtsilä believes that the reservations about digitalization expressed by some of the industry professionals are “thwarting progress” and that digitalization can enable “a maritime ecosystem that can deliver improved efficiencies, better safety and compliance, and greater sustainability for all”.

The Wärtsilä report explores attitudes to digital transformation among maritime professionals across Europe & the Middle East, the USA, and the Asia-Pacific region. The research was conducted by Lloyd’s List Intelligence from October 10 through November 2, 2022. Wärtsilä surveyed a cross-section of 221 maritime industry professionals.

Source: Wärtsilä