Could Silicon Valley’s top minds be recruited to help with shipping? Ship’s crew

From John Conrad (gCaptain) Shipping, a stable industry often clinging to outdated practices and methods, has rarely been associated with ongoing technological change. Aside from a small handful of success stories like Flexport, it’s even rarer that America is celebrated in our industry as a beacon of digital innovation. However, Paul Sells, CEO of ABS wavesight, sees the winds of change blowing the industry’s sails. He claims that the creative energy emanating from Silicon Valley has the power to modernize the maritime world. That is If Its most talented and creative minds can be used to help ships.

Over the past 30 years, we have seen American innovation reach a pace that is downright biblical in its enthusiasm, particularly in the technology sector. It may have taken the shipping industry some time to catch this wave, but Sells is confident that Silicon Valley’s talent pool offers a wealth of untapped potential.

As he pointed out in a recent interview with gCaptain, “The US may be slow to apply these tools to maritime solutions, but we have a lot of depth.” That “depth” is found in Silicon Valley’s skilled engineers, product managers, and technologists .

Yet a looming challenge remains – bridging the gap between the tech maestros and the idiosyncratic workings of the shipping industry. Organizations like ABS Wavesight are committed to addressing this issue. Using the strong shipping industry roots of its parent organization, the American Bureau of Shipping, and a wealth of marine engineering and operations talent, ABS Wavesight plans to act as the liaison between these seemingly disparate sectors.

Paul Sells, CEO of ABS Wavesight, cuts the ribbon at Workboat Photo: John Konrad/gCaptain

Their approach involves a focused effort in training and education initiatives aimed at instilling the technical minds of Silicon Valley in ship management. This strategy allows for the development of a relationship between experienced maritime professionals and eager technology innovators, creating an environment ripe for innovation.

“For the younger generation, shipping is particularly attractive,” admits Sells. A landscape of significant challenges awaits them – climate change, strained supply chains, cybersecurity threats, geopolitical tensions. In this melting pot, digitization is no longer an optional add-on, but an essential part of the solution. “The opportunity to participate in an industry with such a wide reach is an enticing prospect for these young professionals.”

As Sells demonstrates, maritime professionals can make a successful transition to technology, and technology professionals can find fulfilling careers in the maritime industry. The combined forces of experienced maritime professionals and technical experts can not only drive technology development, but also stimulate the maritime industry to solve problems such as how to alleviate logistical bottlenecks, meet demanding CO2 targets, block cybersecurity threats or reduce ship accidents at sea.

In addition, ABS Wavesight benefits from a strategic location in Houston, a stone’s throw from Austin’s burgeoning technology hub and a quick flight to Silicon Valley. This gives them access to a large reservoir of engineering talent. However, Sells warns, proximity alone is no guarantee of success. It is access to the global network of ABS offices and multinational talent pool that gives Wavesight the edge.

Indeed, America is teeming with talent, but the power of diversity and multinational collaboration is too great an asset to ignore. This represents a compelling proposition for young tech luminaries looking to broaden their horizons beyond Silicon Valley. You will discover that the shipping industry, in collaboration with ABS partners, offers an unprecedented opportunity to get involved in port cities around the world – a unique experience rarely found in other sectors.

In this industry, they don’t limit themselves to exploring the world vicariously via a “travel influencer’s” curated Instagram reel. Instead, they are offered the opportunity to travel and experience the unfiltered world of shipping – with all its happenings – firsthand.

In conclusion, we note that the shipping industry stands on the brink of an exciting era, potentially fueled by Silicon Valley’s pulsating pace of innovation. Companies like ABS Wavesight are taking the helm and poised to bridge the gap between these two disparate sectors. In this way, they can trigger breakthroughs of considerable magnitude and lead the shipping industry into the digital dawn. The key to successfully navigating this journey is to leverage the wealth of resources that multinational shipping giants like ABS offer and effectively engage the most promising technology marvels on the profound impact they can make by developing solutions for the shipping space.

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