Digitalisation in shipping: a human-centred approach

Technological change is transforming our economy, and the shipping industry is no exception. Researchers have made early steps towards fully automated ships, while other new technologies could make the management of shipping much less labour intensive. Innovation is unstoppable, and can bring many benefits for workers and society. But seafarers will face enormous changes, and they have the right to be respected and listened to as their industry transforms. 

At the moment, the European institutions are enthusiastically driving forward innovation in shipping. They actively support researchers and marine manufacturers in the development of automated ships and fully integrated transport systems. ETF and its affiliates across Europe aim to democratise decisions about how and when we use new technologies. We stand ready to play our role in steering this process so that it brings improvements in maritime safety, environmental performance, and the working lives and conditions of maritime professionals. This is how new technologies can realise their full potential to build a shipping industry based on social, economic and ecological sustainability. 

The ETF is prepared to step up and act as an agent of change in support of a smooth technological transition. Our goal is that workers are consulted and supported so that changes result in improved safety, high-quality employment and training for European maritime professionals. We must also defend the sustainability of maritime clusters in Europe, which are of economic and strategic importance. 

Our five guidelines for sustainable digital shipping set out our position on technological change in the sector. They provide European stakeholders with the key principles and approaches needed to ensure that their decisions about the automation of shipping bring the maximum benefits for the economy, workers and the environment. 

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Radical changes required to future-proof training and education of maritime professionals

As part of the SkillSea project, a new report was released – Current Skills Needs: Reality and Mapping.
Researchers surveyed more than 1,600 maritime professionals – 1,149 seafarers and 474 shore-based personnel – to get their views on the adequacy of current maritime training and education and what they consider to be the most important skills needs.

19 Mar 2020

“People must be put first!” – ETF reaction to the Opatija Declaration

On Wednesday, EU Transport Ministers adopted the Opatija Declaration on the future outlook of EU Waterborne Transport.
ETF welcomes the attention given to some of the ongoing industry challenges, and at the same time highlights several points that we believe merit further consideration and follow-up both of the EU Member States and the European Commission.

13 Mar 2020

The future of European Shipping needs to be social!

Last week, European Shipping Week 2020 was held in Brussels, organised by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA). This year, the ETF Maritime Transport section took part in a variety of ways, with trade union representatives from nine different countries attending and contributing to the programme.

25 Feb 2020

Where can you find us during the 2020 European Shipping Week?

In addition to an event on seafarers’ employment organised by ETF affiliates, we will be involved in a number of other events together with the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA). We will be presenting results from joint projects and upcoming activities, as well as offer a better insight into the perspective of seafarers in terms of skills needs, digitalization, and equal opportunities.

10 Feb 2020