University Of Tasmania
151575 - Digitalization transformation and its challenges in shipping operation.pdf (548.97 kB)

Digitalization Transformation and its Challenges in Shipping Operation: The Case of Seafarer’s Cognitive Human Factor

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posted on 2023-05-22, 20:03 authored by Gholam Reza EmadGholam Reza Emad, Mehrangiz ShahbakhshMehrangiz Shahbakhsh
Industry 4.0, as the most disruptive industrial revolution, is reshaping the industries by coupling the cyber to the physical systems. The current digitalization has its root in digitization introduced by Industry 3.0, where it made a foundation for gradual industrial migration to Industry 4.0. Respectively, Shipping 3.0 introduced automation and computerized systems onboard ships and paved the way for entering Shipping 4.0. In turn, the ultimate goal of Shipping 4.0 is full autonomy through the implementation of autonomous shipping. The introduction of autonomous shipping not only modifies the maritime workplaces but also changes the jobs’ definitions and the role of seafarers as the human element in the system. However, the journey to Shipping 4.0 will take the shipping industry to different steps before ships become fully autonomous. International Maritime Organization (IMO) defined these steps in four degrees from traditional to smart shipping. This implies that, at the same time, seafarers’ role and the required skills and competencies to gradually evolve with the ship's transition to the next degree. The review of literature about Industry 4.0 shows that so far, the focus of researchers and the industry is mainly on the innovation in technology and its implementation on ships. However, the role of the human and the cognitive human factor in the process is yet to be investigated. This paper aims to explore the effects of adaptation of digitalization in the shipping industry with a focus on the human element and cognitive human factor. The paper illustrates how the innovation and technological development of Industry 4.0 is changing the shipping industry and evolving human operators’ roles, responsibilities, and training needs.


Publication title

Human Factors in Transportation




K Plant and G Praetoriu






Australian Maritime College


AHFE International

Place of publication

New York



Rights statement

Copyright 2022 AHFE Open Access

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Autonomous water vehicles; International sea freight transport (excl. live animals, food products and liquefied gas)