Shipping lines, in other words, stand to gain much more from investing in making their ships run more efficiently than automating their entire workforce. Plus, improving ship efficiency doesn’t require regulatory approval. “Even if the technology advances, I don’t expect we will be allowed to sail around with 400-meter long container ships, weighing 200,000 metric tons without any human beings on board,” Maersk CEO Søren Skou told Bloomberg in 2018. “I don’t think it will be a driver of efficiency, not in my time.”

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