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The International Chamber of Shipping Wants Zero-Carbon Ships by 2030 While TuSimple Is Already Ahead of the Game

Last month, the International Chamber of Shipping said they are in the process of creating a nongovernmental organization to tackle carbon emissions within the shipping industry funded by $5 billion from shipping companies over a decade and continues to seek additional stakeholders’ participation.

“[It] is critical to accelerate the R&D effort required to decarbonize the shipping sector and to spur the development of commercially viable zero-carbon ships by the early 2030s.” – The International Chamber of Shipping

The organization to be known as the International Maritime Research and Development Board will be overseen by the member countries of the U.N. maritime agency and financed by shipping companies through a mandatory contribution of $2 per metric ton of marine fuel. 

While the shipping industry contributes only about 2% of global greenhouse gases, it accounts for 20% of greenhouse gases in the United States alone.  The International Chamber of Shipping hope to use the funds to “spur the development of commercially viable zero-carbon ships by early 2030.  More details to follow when the governments discuss the shipping industry’s proposal when the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meets in London in March. 

In the meantime, let’s talk about an up-and-coming trucking company that has been making headway since its inception about 4 ½ years ago. A San Diego-based automated trucking company, TuSimple seems to be on everyone’s lips. Just last September, the company announced that their new investments bring their total funding to a whopping $298 million.  Their list of investors includes UPS, CDH investments (a Chinese venture capitalist), Lavender Hill Capital (investment firm), and Mando Corp. (a South Korean company).  They’ve been since utilizing a new night vision-capable camera and have been running a pilot with USPS, running round trips between Dallas and Phoenix.

This past December, TuSimple announced that its self-driving technology has reduced fuel consumption for trips by at least 10%.  TuSimple has level 4 autonomous trucks which SAE international has defined as a truck that can drive itself under certain conditions without any driver input or backup assistance.  Initial research and findings have started to suggest that TuSimple trucks will significantly reduce the environmental impact of heavy-duty trucking.  Currently, they have 18 contracted customers and make between 13-19 runs a day in Arizona with goals to be driverless by 2021.  In terms of decarbonizing the shipping sector and fighting the ever-growing driver shortage—TuSimple is way ahead of its game.

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New Study Reveals Threat of Automation Isn’t That Bad?

If you’re in the logistics industry, then you are all too familiar with the shortage of truck drivers.  Already, there have been reports of us currently being short by about 60,000 drivers with that shortage possibly tripling by 2026. With automation just around the corner, there are now new studies suggesting maybe the threat isn’t so serious?

“Drivers do a lot of jobs other than drive and those still need to get done, and those really are the trickiest things to automate,” states Kristen Monaco, co-author of the study titled Trucking Driving Jobs: Are They Headed for Rapid Elimination? Monaco also blames the media for hyping drivers’ fears.

The study is worth the read and debunks a lot of myths regarding the driver shortage.  In it, Kristen Monaco and Maury Gittleman covers:

  • How the numbers are inflated due to the misunderstanding of the occupational classification system used in federal statistics. 

In the study, it discusses how light truck delivery trucks are included in “trucking jobs”.  They also note how the estimates uses the total number of CDL holders even though many of the people who hold the appropriate license no longer drive at all. 

  • How truck drivers are responsible for non-driving tasks that will continue to be in demand as they are incredibly difficult to automate.

These tasks include pre-check inspections and other safety compliances, operating non-truck equipment like forklifts, tarping, fueling, customer service, paperwork, loading, and unloading.

  • How, if any job is in jeopardy with the advancement of technology and automation, it would be long-haul trucking which is roughly only one-quarter of trucking jobs.

“Our case study of truck drivers suggests, however, that, at least for now, any loss of jobs as a result of automation will be more limited, especially compared with journalistic accounts but also as anticipated by a number of experts.”

– Kristen Monaco

As discussed in previous blog posts, fear that new technology will lead to massive unemployment is not new.  This study suggests that truck automation will be comparable to the first introduction of automated teller machines (ATMs).  While it first decreased the number of employees required per bank branch, the increase in productivity made it less expensive for a bank to open a branch. In the end, it created more jobs and reshaped the teller position as part of customer service.  So instead of anticipating the end of truck driving jobs, automation may reshape the position to something new and useful. 

To read the whole study by Maury Gittleman and Kristen Monaco, click here.

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