Year in Review: Top shipping stories to remember from 2018

As 2018 is reaching its end, we decided to provide a recap of the key developments mixed with subsequent challenges that shaped the maritime landscape of this year. From the unprecedented opportunities that blockchain brought on the spotlight, to the unforeseen evolvement of the shipping regulatory framework that shifted the industry toward a more sustainable approach, the past year claims the title of a turning point for the future of shipping.

Unblocking Blockchain for trade

In 2018, the world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk, and its multinational technology partner, IBM, named their joint blockchain venture, marking a major step towards the upcoming transformation of global trade.

Blockchain seems to emerge in many industries every day, including the maritime, an industry which has been showing more and more interest in innovative technologies over the last years.

Blockchain, as a secure and decentralized shared database, forms the basis for the so-called ‘Smart Contracts’, as it ensures that no one person exclusively controls it, improving transparency and reducing paperwork complexity and costs.

Except from the field of trade, blockchain has recently opened new routes in bunker industry with the establishment of BLOC Consortium, in the offshore drilling industry with the launch of the world’s first Blockchain Drilling service, the marine insurance with the official launch in service of the world’s first blockchain platform for marine insurance, as well as for ports -from Antwerp to Brisbane- to ease complexity of operations.

In November, Japanese NYK announced it would launch its own digital currency to pay seafarers, while a consortium of key energy majors, including BP, Equinor, Shell, Gunvor and Mercuria, announced the launch of the world’s first fully operational, enterprise-grade blockchain platform to enter the oil and gas industry.

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