Shipping’s Resilient Future Amid Challenges

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Global Shipping Industry Outlook

According to KPMG, the global shipping industry is expected to continue its ascending course, despite issues with accessibility, manpower, and the current ecopolitical turbulence. Ship owners and operators have suffered from shortages of vessel space and containers, while carriers had to consolidate port calls. On the other hand, ports have reported managing several logjams. Therefore, key players across the shipping industry are aiming for greater resilience while shipping economies will need to futureproof their ports and maritime supply chains.

Key Industry Facts and Challenges

● Fleet

The world fleet is dominated by small and medium-sized ships up to 25,000 GT (83%), while small ships alone represent 38% by number, although around only 1% by tonnage.

None of the very large ships reached their 25th anniversary, reflecting the tendency to renew and grow large-sized fleets year by year.

● Supply – demand

More container ships will facilitate the ship availability problem and are expected to lower freight rates.

The increased number of vessels in operation will restore the supply-demand balance in the coming years.

● Accessibility

The problem of vessel availability, amplified by port delays and changes in consumer priorities, will ease in the years to come.

Infrastructure bottlenecks may occur from time to time, causing problems throughout the supply chain, spanning from port and ship capacity to the ability of logistics networks to deliver goods to their final destination.

● Ecopolitical turbulence

The ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East have significantly impacted the shipping industry.

Key trade routes, particularly in the Black and Red Seas, are experiencing disruption due to increased military activity, maritime restrictions, attacks on US and European ships, and port closures.

As a result, longer and more expensive routes are becoming necessary.

● Human resources

The latest Seafarer Workforce Report from BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) expects a significant shortage in maritime officers by 2026.

Women seafarers make up only 2 percent of the crewing workforce and are mostly found in the cruise industry, while they make up 34 percent of the workforce in ship-owning corporations.

Industry Challenges

The maritime industry, handling around 90% of global goods transport, could cause 17% of human carbon emissions by 2050. To meet sustainability goals, stricter environmental regulations are being enforced, like the mandatory Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) calculation from January 2023. The shift away from fossil fuels will accelerate oil rig decommissioning in favor of offshore wind farms, raising collision risks that necessitate improved marine navigation aids.

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Source: KPMG

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