As the winter shipping season ramps up the intensity ahead of its closure for the winter, shipping companies in Ontario and across Canada are anticipating the usual hike in activity amid heavy lake ice from plunging temperatures. But for shipping companies in general there is still the turbulent experience from ongoing criticism of their environmental impact, as well as uncertainty from the global economy.
With the worldwide economy buffeted by Brexit and the long-running US-China trade war, shipping companies in Canada are under pressure to navigate the metaphorical stormy waters as well as they do the literal ones. However, as e-commerce continues to grow unabated it is positive news for shipping companies in Canada, and increased digitalization of many ways of working within the shipping industry has helped create efficiencies and generate smoother processes.
Environmental record of shipping companies is mixed
The role of shipping companies in the ongoing issue of high water levels in the Great Lakes, including Lake Ontario, has been criticized by environmental campaigners who say that delays in future shipping seasons will help address the problem by allowing the Ottawa River to thaw. However, industry leaders turned down proposals to relieve flooding in Lake Ontario by opening higher outflows at a nearby dam because of the negligible benefits – especially as they would come at a cost to commercial enterprises, including shipping companies.
Canada’s shipping companies fare much better in the area of recycling. The introduction of the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act in 201
Shipping companies in Ontario and across Canada have seen some creative uses for recycled shipping containers. Bespoke designs have been formed from old containers that have led to some eye-catching buildings, including a stylish outdoor marketplace in Toronto and even a hotel in London. Thailand, Denmark and China have also been getting in on the recycling act with some fascinating architecture.
Safer shipping that is better for the environment
Shipping companies are also doing more to reduce their impact on the environment through the fuel they use for their vessels. The use of liquefied natural gas to power vessels can help to reduce emissions, and studies have shown that CO2 emissions are 25% lower using this fuel compared with diesel.
Another method of powering transport is wind and solar power, with the technology of solar power actively being extensively tested. The TuranorPlanetSolar has already travelled around the world using power gained through the use of 29,000 solar cells – and could be bolstered even further by on-board turbines, making it a powerful and effective proposition for the future state of environmentally friendly practices by shipping companies in Canada.
Technological innovation is boosting shipping companies
The shipping companies industry has often been thought of as slow to adopt new technology, yet market reports indicate that 90% of shipping company insiders who were surveyed think their organization will increase IT spending in 2019 and onwards through 2020. Technological growth in these areas can significantly enhance operational performance, with improvements affecting automation, business intelligence, planning and management systems and big data analytics.
The Internet of Things has also extended its reach to shipping companies, with the potential development of smart containers. Forecasts point towards widespread adoption of smart containers, which would see disposable tracking devices fitted inside containers so they can be tracked as they progress on their way through transit.
There are even more exciting innovations on the horizon. Enhanced tracking is just the start, with digital devices set to galvanize shipping companies through the adoption of systems that can detect when a vessel requires a repair onboard; the need for any human presence on board a vessel may also eventually become a thing of the past, as the potential for such digital devices includes remote controlling by land-based staff.
Safeguarding its future through green innovation
Shipping companies in Canada are likely to continue to thrive due to a combination of ongoing e-commerce demand and dedicated development of technology to keep processes efficient and fresh. In addition, the wider industry has listened to concerns over environmental impacts and is undergoing much more focused initiatives to drive down fuel pollution and the after-effects of wrecks left behind in the ocean.