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Shipping 4.0 disruption and its impending impact on maritime education

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 15:01 authored by Gholam Reza EmadGholam Reza Emad

Context: The world currently is being interrupted by industry 4.0. As such, maritime industry is embracing shipping 4.0 by introduction of novel technologies such as automation, innovative propulsion systems, artificial intelligence, and remote monitoring. With autonomous shipping on the horizon, these current and incoming technological changes is evolving the work and redefining the maritime professionals’ job descriptions. The magnitude and pace of these developments bring disruption to business as usual and is redefining the knowledge and competencies the maritime workforce require to be able to perform safely and efficiently in the novel workplace.

Purpose or goal: Shipping 4.0 is introducing autonomous and unmanned ships with the promise of improving safety and efficiency in addition to the financial and environmental benefits. However, so far, the attention centred around the technology itself resulting the ship operators and human element in general getting out of focus. This article brings the attention on the reform required for education and training of maritime workforce in the face of shipping 4.0 evolution.

Approach or Methodology/Methods: This article reports on the outcome of a qualitative research focusing on the future of maritime education and training through the lenses of seafarers. Research participants were active seafarers at different stage of their careers in maritime industry. The data collected were analysed using qualitative content analysis method.

Actual or Anticipated Outcomes: The findings suggest that shipping 4.0 will have a great impact on the maritime professionals’ education and training content and how it should be conducted. The research also revealed that the current educational curriculum has very limited relevance to the competencies that these professionals will need in their future workplace.

Conclusions/Recommendations/Summary: The shipping 4.0 has already upon maritime industry with first remotely controlled ship being already in operation and first fully autonomous/unmanned ship is currently under construction. The research outcome reinforces the urgency of the measures which needs to be taken for adopting an educational system which is relevant to the upcoming technological changes.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2020)






Australian Maritime College


Australasian Association for Engineering Education

Place of publication


Event title

31st Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2020)

Event Venue

Virtual Conference, Online (Sydney, Australia)

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2020 Gholam Reza Emad

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

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