Global Shipping Set To Return To Growth In 2021

In a year that has seen many challenges to the maritime industry, the industry is set to bounce back in 2021, helped by the news of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The projection, revealed in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Review of Maritime Transport 2020, projects a growth forecast of 4.8 per cent and a general recovery over the next year.

However, with this comes the warning that North Sea and Baltic cargo shipping organisations need to invest in emergency response and risk management, to ensure they are prepared in case of another major disruption to the sea freight ecosystem.

Resilience has become a keyword in the industry, to ensure that shipping organisations can survive anything.

In the short term, the focus will be on vaccination and returning shipping to as close to normal as is possible, however, the longer-lasting effects will be somewhat less predictable, particularly if many production philosophies move away from just-in-time supply chains to just-in-case.

There are also wider economic factors, to consider such as consumer spending habits and general economic health, which have a knock-on effect on shipping.

This shift, as well as the move away from heavy fuel oil towards liquid petroleum gas and green hydrogen, have the potential to transform the shipping industry over the next decade, accelerating trends that have already been seen.

The overall International Maritime Organisation goal to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions from the industry by half by 2050 have already seen some development shifts that will help contribute to this reduction.