30 May 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to significantly transform the landscape of work, and the shipping and maritime sectors may find themselves at the forefront of this revolution sooner than anticipated. While there is potential for AI to enhance efficiency within shipping and maritime businesses, there is also the prospect of job displacement alongside the creation of new roles and the improvement of existing ones.

The creators of OpenAI (ChatGPT) conducted a research study estimating that 80% of today’s workers could see their jobs impacted by AI, a statistic that undoubtedly includes the shipping sector.

Is shipping and maritime ready for AI?

In a 2019 Faststream survey of maritime and shipping executives, 62% expressed scepticism about the industry’s readiness for AI adoption. Shipping and maritime have had a reputation for falling into the laggard camp, often being one of the last to adopt technologies.

Four years on, in a similar survey, 26% of executives reported that their businesses were already utilising it, but the majority were yet to do so. Considering that AI is consistently ranked as one of the top skills to learn and employ, there is a clear opportunity for more shipping businesses to leverage AI's potential benefits, such as enhanced performance, efficiency, and cost reductions.

AI for Better Business

AI has the potential to streamline various aspects of shipping and maritime operations, from vessel routing and scheduling to predictive maintenance and supply chain management. By harnessing AI-powered analytics, shipping businesses can make data-driven decisions, optimise resource allocation, and mitigate risks more effectively. This, in turn, can lead to cost savings, operational efficiencies, and improved safety standards within the industry.

The Impact of AI on Hiring Decisions

AI's role in shaping future hiring decisions is a pertinent consideration. For some, it may have little or no effect, others may experience improvements in the way their people do things. We could find some jobs become obsolete, whilst creating new and better jobs. Already I believe that some shipping businesses will recognise the need to adapt hiring strategies to accommodate AI integration, while others will remain uncertain about its implications in the short term.

Whilst AI has the potential to enhance job quality and create new opportunities, it is crucial to recognise that AI cannot replicate essential human attributes such as compassion, innovation or collaboration underscoring the continued importance of human-centric leadership in the shipping and maritime sectors.

AI’s power to improve attraction techniques

You can implement AI chatbots to engage with candidates in real-time, answering queries, providing information about job opportunities, and guiding them through the application process. This personalised and interactive approach can not only enhance the candidate experience but can also increase engagement and conversion rates.

Additionally, AI usage can optimise job postings and advertisements by analysing language, keywords, and formatting to maximise visibility and attract relevant candidates. In the same sentiment, it can also be used to draft improved emails, interview notes and even content like I am writing right now. Can you spot the paragraph I used AI to create?

AI’s power to improve attraction techniques - Faststream Recruitment

AI in Recruitment Processes

There will be a need for greater transparency and accountability in AI-powered recruitment processes to mitigate biases and ensure fairness. AI algorithms are only as good as the data they are trained on, and if historical biases exist within the data, they can perpetuate discriminatory practices in hiring.

We will need to think about, discuss and prioritise ethical AI practices and how AI can be powered to improve diversity and inclusion initiatives, rather than hinder them.

AI in Recruitment Processes - Faststream Recruitment

AI in preboarding and onboarding

It can be easy to believe that the hard work has been done once the start date for a new employee has been agreed but it is not. The time between the acceptance of a new role and the start date is a precarious time in recruitment. This is where preboarding and communication becomes imperative.

AI coupled with automation could revolutionise the way employees are preboarded and onboarded in the future. Creating communication plans through AI and automation for all new starters with when and what you will communicate will save you time and could elevate your processes for consistency, personalisation, and timeliness.

AI in preboarding and onboarding  - Faststream Recruitment

AI Anxiety

We stand at the brink of AI’s potential positive or negative impact on retention rates in shipping. The question arises: could some of your human employees, or even yourself, become obsolete in the face of advancing AI technology? This potential threat strikes at the core of individuals' workplace identity and sense of value, sparking personal fears about their future roles and relevance.

We must recognise that while AI possesses significant capabilities, it primarily mimics rather than innovates or creates. Despite these anxieties, it is premature to anticipate a total takeover by robots in the workforce.

I don’t think robots are coming for our jobs just yet.

AI Anxiety - Faststream Recruitment

AI Transparency

Communicating with your employees about when and how AI will be used, and whether it will impact people’s work is going to be important. The oldest and strongest kind of fear or anxiety is the fear of the unknown.

Additionally, soliciting feedback and addressing any apprehensions openly can foster trust and collaboration, ensuring a smooth transition towards AI adoption. Sharing AI best practices across your business could make people feel more empowered, rather than concerned about its use.

AI Transparency - Faststream Recruitment

AI’s influence on new and improved skills

AI’s impact on how we may do our jobs in the future means it also has the potential to influence the skills we need to hire or develop within our teams. If routine and repetitive tasks can be taken over with AI, it frees up time to allow people to learn new things, take on new tasks and develop themselves.

Whilst in an obvious sense knowledge and skills of AI will certainly be attractive, what we could see is the need to develop more human skills. Managers and leaders have the opportunity to grow in terms of empathetic leadership, creativity, learning (and failing), relationship building and contributing to the organisational culture.

AI’s influence on new and improved skills - Faststream Recruitment

AI on learning and development

A significant opportunity in AI is to help people learn and develop. With people wanting more than just a salary and aspiring to the 3Cs – Career Growth, Continuous Feedback and Constant Learning, AI can be applied to aid this.

AI could help to find skill gaps in your people, identify training they may have missed, and schedule their future training programmes. It can also be used to summarise complex and often lengthy text, video, or audio. Condensing vast amounts of information into digestible bite-size chunks means that people can quickly improve their knowledge in areas to make them better at their jobs.

AI on learning and development  - Faststream Recruitment

Final thoughts

As the shipping and maritime sectors embrace AI, we must navigate the complexities of technological advancement while prioritising human-centric approaches. While AI offers immense potential to optimise operations and enhance recruitment strategies, it must be implemented ethically and transparently to mitigate biases and ensure fairness.

Investment in employee learning and development is essential to equip the workforce with the skills needed to thrive in an AI-driven environment. By embracing AI as a tool for innovation and fostering a culture of continuous learning, the shipping industry can adapt to the changing landscape of work and maintain its competitive edge in the global market.

Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest insights and find out more.

Back to insights

Share this Insight

Meet the author

Banner Default Image

Register to receive insights