Operational and economic advantages of autonomous ships and their perceived impacts on port operations

Ismail Kurt, Murat Aymelek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autonomous shipping has been on the agenda of the shipping industry for the last decade, and is now closer to becoming a reality more than ever. Although it is technically possible to automate ships with the developments in autonomous technologies of recent years, the effective use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) depends on meeting the specific operational needs of shipping. Furthermore, autonomous ships must provide significant economic, environmental, safety, and interoperability advantages for a transition to autonomy to be feasible. This study provides a detailed assessment of the operational improvements, possible impacts, and problems that may arise in the shipping industry with the advent of MASS. In addition to this, we assess the processes that would ensure the realization of autonomous ship–port interoperability. In this context, the study discusses the transition to MASS, taking a variety of factors into account, including the acceptability of MASS, benefits and economic impacts of the transition for the shipping industry, the adaptation of vessel types, MASS–port operational interactions (considering various aspects of port operations), and the role of port authorities. Data were collected using a detailed questionnaire distributed to relevant maritime industry stakeholders. The results of this study highlight the navigational issues facing port areas, and the challenges regarding MASS–port interactions during cargo operations. The findings of this research are expected to assist efforts of successfully implementing autonomous systems in the maritime transport chain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302–326
Number of pages24
JournalMaritime Economics & Logistics
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2022


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