Digital and autonomous ships are becoming increasingly important for safe and sustainable shipping, as the number of ships is increasing.


On the one hand, this is due to an increase in global freight flows by sea. On the other hand, because freight transport is moved from the road to the rivers to solve congestion issues and limit emissions.


At the same time, the number of qualified skippers is lagging. This means that in the future more ships will have to be operated with fewer people. This can only be done safely if extensive digitalization and automation are used. This reduces the “operator error” and hence the number of incidents. Digitalization also contributes to more efficient sailing, which reduces energy consumption and saves costs.


The Dutch Smart Shipping Forum, SMASH!, has been set up to give the digitalization and automation of shipping an extra boost. Within this forum, The Dutch Maritime Network works closely with value chain partners to put smart shipping on the map in the Netherlands. SMASH! offers a central point of contact, works on a joint roadmap and knowledge agenda and initiates projects.