Maritime Trade Set To Grow And Transform in 2021

After a challenging year filled with disruptions caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, a recent review of sea freight shows a promising future of the adapting industry.

According to the United Nations Conference On Trade And Development’s (UNCTAD), Review of Maritime Transport 2020, maritime trade is expected to increase by 4.8 per cent in 2021 assuming a more general recovery of the market.

This is a marked changed from the expected 4.1 per cent decrease in global sea trade for 2020, as a result of decreased demand and decreased output caused by changes to the logistics industry caused by the current circumstances.

The growth increase is a positive sign for shipping agents and other businesses working in sea logistics, however, several potential challenges may affect the market, both caused and highlighted by the pandemic.

The first is the transformation of the logistics industry as a whole and maritime logistics in particular towards carbon neutrality. Historically sea freight has used heavy fuels that generate higher levels of carbon dioxide compared to LPG or other fuel sources.

The movement to decarbonise the industry should not be neglected after the pandemic, with several sustainable end goals possible.

The next is the nature of the supply chain itself, which has recently been designed on the principle of just-in-time shipping and having low stockpiles of inventory, which is exceptionally vulnerable a disruption in shipping, as we saw at the onset of the pandemic.

Investment in emergency responses and risk management is key to ensure that the industry is not caught out by a future global crisis.