Global Marine Technology Trends, Drivers and Challenges

Atilla Incecik
University of Strathclyde, UK


The world population is predicted to increase to 8.5 billion in 2030. At the same time, the share of people living in urban areas will increase to about 60% in 2030.
Water demand will grow to 5500-6000 km3 / year in 2050. The rapidly growing water demand from cities, industry and electricity suppliers will challenge water available for agriculture which in turn challenges food production. Global freshwater demand is expected to exceed supply 40% by 2030.
Growth in waterborne transportation and trade will be driven as the world population increases due to demand for food, water, energy and technological products.
It is expected that climate will change significantly, causing an increase in temperatures, more severe rainfall and flooding, higher frequency of storms and continuous and increasing polar ice melting, all leading to possibly severe operational disruptions which will have impact on waterborne sectors.
With massive growth in computational capacity and data storage capabilities, globally accessible networks and cloud infrastructure, availability of smart devises (Internet of Things) and smart and cheap sensors, a significant increase of digitalisation and automation in all waterborne sectors is taking place.
The continuous requirements to reduce GHG emissions significantly will require: reduction of energy consumption by waterborne transport; use of cleaner fuels, like LNG, Ammonia, methanol, hydrogen and hybrid solutions; electrification of ship and the development of ports’ infrastructure for bunkering alternative fuels.
This talk will aim at presenting the expected impacts on waterborne transport of increasing population, economic growth, energy demand and supply, climate change, decarbonisation, digitalisation and automation. The presentation will be concluded by emphasising the importance of training and upskilling of naval architects, marine and offshore engineers as well as seafarers to meet the challenges summarised above.


Prof. Atilla Incecik is Professor of Offshore Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. During the last sixteen years he served as the Head of Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering, and Associate Principal and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Professor Incecik’s research activities include the development of hydrodynamic design and analysis tools and model testing of marine and offshore engineering systems, including marine renewable energy devices. Professor Incecik was the Research Manager of Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) and is a Chair Professor at Zhejiang University. Professor Incecik is Editor-in-Chief of Ocean Engineering Journal. In 2019 Professor Incecik was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Chalmers University of Technology in recognition of his research on green shipping and environmental sustainability.