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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

BPA eyes autonomous ships in new project

Mon 12 Feb 2018 by Rebecca Moore

BPA eyes autonomous ships in new project
Mark Simmonds (BPA): Horizon will look at what port infrastructure will be needed to accommodate vessels of the future

British Ports Association (BPA) has announced a new Port Futures project to examine emerging threats and opportunities for British ports.

The rolling programme of activity – labelled Horizon – will address key issues for ports over the next 50 years, including infrastructure and skills, grouped around four key drivers of change:

  • Technology and automation.
  • Climate change and the environment.
  • Politics, regulation and the law.
  • Social and economic change.

Individual projects around key emerging challenges for ports will be launched under each theme, drawing in experts from industry and academia. The outcome will be a rolling programme of recommendations for government, feeding into initiatives such as Maritime 2050 and the Industrial Strategy.

British Ports Association policy manager Mark Simmonds said “Today’s world is marked by rapid and at times unpredictable change, and as an industry we are keen to play our part in shaping that change as much as possible and being ready to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

“This exciting programme will focus minds across industry and government on key long-term challenges, such as what port infrastructure will be needed to accommodate the vessels of the future. Will the current trend towards ever-larger ships continue? Or will autonomous vessels herald more but more numerous traffic into our ports?”

Maritime UK, an umbrella group representing industry, recently launched its own futures plan and will be closely tied in with the BPA’s Port Horizon programme.

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