Global Recruitment Affected by Trade War, Says Norwegian Shipowners’ Association

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According to a Business Mirror article, international ship owners could end up recruiting fewer Filipino seafarers over the next years, as they absorb the impact from the global slowdown in demand for merchandise products, an industry leader said on Tuesday.

Trade War Damage 

Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) CEO Harald Solberg said global shippers are taking damage from the trade conflict between the world’s largest economies. The shipping industry, he explained, is “heavily related to the growth in the world economy;” therefore, any slowdown in global trade is a slowdown in the sector’s business.

“Not yet,” Solberg said when asked whether the industry has been injured by the trade tensions between the United States and China. However, he added, “but the shipping industry is heavily related to the growth in the world economy.”

Shipping Services-Demand Affected?

In a news briefing, Solberg added, “We see a slowdown in the growth. We are concerned about the outlook and the implication of the trade war, [and] we are prepared that the slowdown of the world economy also will lead to a slowdown in the demand of shipping services.”

Solberg warned this could compel international ship owners, such as NSA, to employ fewer seafarers, which would be damaging to a country like the Philippines that deployed nearly 450,000 sea-based workers in 2017.

“If this is the starting point of a development into a more de-globalized world, if this trade war is the start of a reverse process, there is a possibility it could harm shipping and recruitment in the long time. In the short time, it will not influence short-time recruitment,” Solberg said.

Seafarers Job Data

Based on data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the number of deployed Filipino seafarers in 2017 grew 1.5 percent to 449,463, from 442,820 in 2016.

Further, POEA records showed one in every five overseas Filipino workers deployed in 2017 is based at sea. That year the Philippines sent 13,501 seafarers to Norway, making it the ninth-largest employer of sea-based OFWs, to trail Panama, Bahamas, Republic of Marshall Island, Liberia, Malta, Singapore, Bermuda, Italy, in that order.

NSA Employment Opportunity & Global Trade Effect

According to NSA’s web site, its members employ over 55,000 seafarers and offshore workers from more than 50 different countries and territories, and Solberg disclosed at least 20,000 of this labor force comes from the Philippines.

World Trade Organization experts in early October downgraded their forecasts for trade growth this year and next year. Global merchandise trade volumes are now projected to grow by just 1.2 percent in 2019, lower than the earlier forecast of 2.6 percent in April, and by 2.7 percent in 2020, down from the previous 3 percent.

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Source: Business Mirror

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