The President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Prince Adewale Adyanju has said that following the imminent digitalization of the Nigeria’s maritime industry, the Union is mobilizing, sensitizing and training to skew their skills to conform with and adapt to trends in technological advancements.
Speaking at a one-day town hall meeting organized by the members of the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers with the theme, “Achieving Effective Digitalization of Nigeria’s Maritime Industry”, in Lagos yesterday, Adeyanju observed that the digital evolution was shaping the maritime future in every aspect and all its segments.
He noted that in the past years, digitalization had started to change the old operational models in the maritime sector adding that there was vast amount of information exchange in maritime transport considering that maritime transport carried about 80 percent of global trade volume.
Represented by the Deputy Secretary General, MWUN, Comrade Oniha Erazua Odigie, the President General pointed out that the huge amount of data behind these maritime transactions and transport operations; the need for their digitalization invariably arises even as he maintained that the internet of things coupled with an increasing availability of data had engendered an exponential growth of automated processes.
In his words, “Our response to this ‘change’ away from manual means of information collation is to prioritize digital training of our personnel across every cadre to enable them acquire new skills deployable to existing new technologies thrown up by the digitalization process. As maritime practitioners, the foregoing trend stimulated our drive to ensure not only access to these services but also participation in the business as service providers while ensuring that our members retain and remain in employment.
“I cannot profess to be an expert when it comes to issue of digitalization but I can say here for free that it has had profound effect on efficiency, work turnaround time and our overall service delivery and we cannot be left behind. So, consciously, we are mobilizing, sensitizing and training to skew our skills to conform, adapt to trends in technological advancements.”
He disclosed that some terminal operators recently brought mobile cranes for ease of terminal operations indicating that these machineries and a host of other innovations were before now completely alien to the Nigerian ports operations but because they had to defend their livelihood, they rose to the occasion and trained to be able to handle those machines.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as a direct consequence of the introduction, our work style has been impacted to the extent that we now have professional mobile crane operators, male and female alike, we have vessel pilots deploying latest technology and handing in best practice to our managers. We are better prepared and ready to meet with global advancement. Indeed, to avoid a regulation gap, we have had to put in mind the need to be fit for the technologies of today and perhaps, that of tomorrow”, he said.
Comrade Adeyanju maintained that another impact of digitalization in the maritime industry was the fact that new businesses become possible noting that the use of blockchain technology for bunkering, cargo tracking, smart capacity management platforms, circular ship recycling and waste management, crew recruiting (manning) and market allocation.
“We have also noted that technology as applied to our maritime operations has led to a sharp decline in accidents at ports and at sea, reduce pollution and emissions and generally help minimize negative outwardness while streamlining international trade making it easier for us to partake and benefit thereof. It also facilitates the participation of micro, small and medium sized enterprises in trade.
“However, one of the greatest impact digitalization has on maritime operation is its very present threat to employment of our members because as it usefulness expands, it removes the need for physical employment and thus might effectively wipe out our traditionally known way of livelihood. Our response has been to nudge ourselves in the new direction of artificial intelligence and programming to provide an advantageous foothold when the inevitable occurs.
“There is no gainsaying that digitalization has made impacts on maritime operations, it is obvious that it will transform not only the port and shipping business but ultimately change the global geography of trade while innovations and trade efficiency will become more important. Like in any technical revolution, there are many who have still not fully understood and fully embraced all the real and concrete opportunities and advantages digitalization can bring to work and the future of work,”, he submitted.
Photo: Comrade Prince Adewale Adeyanju, President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria.
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