3D Printing’s Impact on the shipping industry: Too early to tell

With many of the newer technologies taking shape today, it’s difficult to quantify how they will affect the surrounding industries. The implications of 3D printing or additive manufacturing, for example, are more mysterious than those of say, advanced robotics. The latter will primarily be used to drive automation. 3D printing, on the other hand, is about locally produced goods or components. It’s a little more challenging to define what that means for the future of specific fields.

How will it affect manufacturing? What does that mean for international markets? What about shipping, especially considering 3D printing nearly obliterates the need to source goods remotely (for some goods)? On which goods will 3D printing make an impact? Or will this technology only have a marginal effect on trade flows? 

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