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It was the best of times, it was the worst of time
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Charles Dickens penned this famous observation in 1859 to open his great literary work, A Tale of Two Cities. Set against a backdrop of the French Revolution, it reflected a complex situation filled with elements ranging from imprisonment and injustice to social anarchy and resurrection. Above all, it was about creating profound change.
We are witnessing change of this magnitude in maritime today. Every day brings new opportunities—and challenges—ripe for an industry to embrace. Much of what is going on is a wakeup call for vigilance, such as the Colonial Pipeline hijacking (the worst of times?), yet an alternate is the recognition that much of what we need to do is happening more quickly than we realize (the best of times).
Many in our industry still say we are slow to change, we are conservative, and we will never meet our goals. As with everything, there may be a kernel of truth, but these statements are being made without factoring in the tools we have today to effect change. Unlike the past millennia which fostered our industry of today, we have the benefits of advanced technology, lightning-fast communications, and boundless digitalization which only serves to accelerate change. Gone are the days when designs were mailed in paper form, we can now share them in a remote group meeting with participants spanning the globe.
Unlike Dickens, who was writing in hindsight, what is over the horizon is not yet known. In fact, it is limited only by our vision and trust.