EUROPE: BPA to research potential impact of autonomous shipping on UK ports

As part of broad-based initiative, the British Ports Association (BPA) is creating an Autonomous Shipping in Ports Network and is launching a call for evidence from the wider maritime community on how ports should prepare to receive autonomous ships in the future. Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) involves the automation of vessel and onboard processes and this could alter how ports and ships interface with each other. The BPA which represents the majority of UK port activity including 85% of the shipping movements in and out of the country, says it is keen to explore what the future developments of shipping will mean for the sector.

Commenting on the new programme Richard Ballantyne, BPA Chief Executive, said: 'The prospect of seeing autonomous ships in UK ports is definitely on the horizon but there will be much to do to prepare ourselves. This includes the consideration for port and marine operations, regulatory frameworks, infrastructure and receptions facilities, land to vessel communications and vessel safety. 'Although we are at the early stages, a lot of work is taking place across the maritime community.

Many UK ports are now starting to ask what they should be considering as they develop their ports and recruit the next generation.'

The BPA's new Network will be open to all its port members, but it will also be drawing on external expertise from specialists working in the marine and MASS sectors.

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