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Live From Nor-Shipping 2017

Huge disruption in automobiles to send shockwaves through shipping

Huge disruption in automobiles to send shockwaves through shipping
Silicon Valley thought leader Tony Seba is forecasting a massive disruption in the road transport sector that will send shockwaves through shipping as well.

“Disruptions are happening more quickly and more deeply,” Seba told the Nor-Shipping opening conference.

Drawing a parallel with how the automobile rapidly replaced the horse as the main mode of passenger road transport in the early 20th century he is forecasting similar transformation in the next decade as rapid developments in autonomous and electric vehicles converge.

The costs of the technology both for autonomous and electric vehicles falling rapidly Seba forecast the rapid rise of “Transports as a Service” (TaaS) with people sharing vehicles as much lower cost alternative to owning their own vehicle. For example the radar technology used in autonomous vehicles cost $70,000 in 2012, but just $1,000 today and $250 system is set to be launched.

If autonomous vehicles were approved in 2021 Seba forecast an 80% drop in US vehicle fleet by 2030 as the usage of TaaS soared to 95% of passenger miles. Many less vehicles would be required as usage rates of TaaS vehicles would be much higher than private cars that spend 96% of their time stationary.

This could all be very bad news for some sectors of shipping. “If you are in the car shipping industry this is what you can look at,” Seba stated. The change in energy usage to electricity to vehicles would also mean a 30% drop in oil demand by 2030, which would deeply hit tanker owners.

Seba believes the same technology that would be used for cars could also be applied to shipping.

“This is starting to happen right now and we're on the cusp of one of the deepest disruptions to transport,” he concluded.

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