Impact of 3D Printing on Maritime Industry

  • Biniam T. Teweldebrhan

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    It is believed that novel technologies such as 3D Printing Technology have questioned the state of existence of many industries, whether to be completely wiped out or massively disrupted, while other industries suddenly arise taking their emergence. With the increase in investment, technological advancement, and acceptances of Technology; foreseeable future changes will be observed in the structure and circulatory systems of many traditional businesses, manufacturing processes and transportation industries. Hence, there is a primal need to create scientific models that optimize the supply chain and construct life cycle costing models for the impacted industries. Accordingly, the aim of this thesis paper is to study the Impact of 3D Printing on one of the leading and oldest transportation systems, 'Maritime Industry'. There are numerous acknowledged studies in the topic '3D Printing Industry (Additive Manufacturing)', in general, and its impact, in particular. Unlike most similar studies that focus on qualitative assessments, this thesis models the future maritime transportation network and quantifies the reduction, in tons-miles, that could result with the upcoming maritime supply chain networks. And as studies indicate that Automotive Industry is one of the five industries that have been the largest investors in the technology for most of the past decade, the industry is considered as a case study to predict the potential impact (in ton-miles) of the 3D printing technology on the existing traditional automotive transportation networks. To reach the desired objective, different statistical forecasting tools and linear programming models such as Shortest Path Algorithms and p-Median Algorithms are applied to formulate two scenarios (traditional automotive manufacturing system and 3D printing manufacturing system). Based on the two scenarios and considering Middle East Countries and range of 3D printers as case studies, the study predicts that 26% to 39% reduction in ton-miles of maritime shipping will be expected by the year 2040, with the mainstreaming of the 3D Printing. Moreover, this study has recorded 43% to 45% possible swapping in the volume of shipping from Car carrier (RORO) fleets to Cargo fleet types.
    Date of AwardMay 2020
    Original languageAmerican English


    • 3D Printing
    • Maritime Industry
    • Automotive Industry
    • Middle East
    • Seaports
    • Time Series Analysis
    • Transportation Network.

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