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Automation - the end for qualified transport workers

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the World Maritime University (WMU) recently launched a flagship report entitled: "Transport 2040: Automation Technology Employment - the future of work."

The assessment, produced by WMU, investigates how the global transport industry will change as a result of automation and advanced technologies, forecasting and analysing trends and developments in the major transport sectors - seaborne, road, rail and aviation - to 2040 with an emphasis on the implications for jobs and employment for transport workers.

This first-ever, independent and comprehensive assessment of how automation will affect the future of work in the transport industry focuses on technological changes that the industry is undertaking to efficiently interconnect the world through international trade. Trends in road, air, rail and maritime transport are presented. The report concludes that the introduction of automation in global transport will be “evolutionary, rather than revolutionary,” and that “despite high levels of automation, qualified human resources with the right skill sets will still be needed in the foreseeable future.”

For maritime transport the report looks at 17 countries more specifically to assess how prepared they are for technical innovation. IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Kitack Lim notes that integrating new and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework for the shipping industry is a key strategic direction for IMO. “Member States and the industry need to anticipate the impact these changes may have and how they will be addressed,” he stated.

The importance of the study was echoed by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, who stated, “There are four takeaways from the launch of this major report today: First, the academic freedom that the University had to undertake this independent report, and which was respected by the ITF.  Second, the research undertaken has enabled us to design and develop a repository on the status of technology globally, in all modes of transport. Third, it enabled us to provide a more accurate assessment of technology, the modes of transport, and their status in the short, medium and long term. And finally, the report represents research on transport modes that is 60 per cent focused on road, rail and aviation, and 40 per cent on maritime.”

Dr. Doumbia-Henry concluded with, “The transportation sector is vital to national economies and the global economy as a whole. We hope this report will help prepare the transportation industry to continue to contribute to the wellbeing of societies and communities worldwide and provide decent work for all.”

To access the full “Transport 2040: Automation Technology Employment - the Future of Work” Report, click here.

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