UNCTAD 2021 Review: The Maritime Industry Survived the Pandemic, but What Comes Next?

The marine industry has been a valuable asset to worldwide trade, and it has demonstrated its resilience in the face of the covid-19 outbreak. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) , the industry performed “better than expected” and the given explanations are mainly related to the fact that the pandemic manifested in phases and the boom of e-commerce and increased consumer spendings on goods.

All Seas shipping, operating in the maritime industry for more than 12 years, is highly concerned with what international organizations have to say. Being part of the change is one of our main priorities since we’re constantly seeking service development.

What the UNCTAD predicts

The report acknowledges the fast recovery of the industry and raises concerns about the pressure that the global supply chain is undergoing. UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan declared that “A lasting recovery will depend on the path of the pandemic and largely hinges on being able to mitigate the headwinds and on a worldwide vaccine roll-out,”.

The pandemic, according to UNCTAD, revealed and amplified issues already present in the marine transport business, such as labor shortages and infrastructural constraints.

Even Though the industry survived the almost devastating effects of the sanitary crisis, the UNCTAD predicts that “annual growth in maritime trade between 2022 and 2026 will slow to 2.4%, compared to 2.9% over the past two decades”. The report was published in November entitled “ Review of Maritime Industry 2021”.

How Megatrends shaped the Industry

The logistical challenges generated by big variations in demand may eventually decrease when global trade patterns settle. However, the pandemic has accelerated technologies and trends that could contribute to the advancement of the maritime sector in the long term.

The pandemic has hastened pre-existing developments in digitalization and environmental sustainability. Shipping and ports may now operate with minimal engagement and physical contact thanks to technological advancements. New technologies have also accelerated the growth of online commerce, which has altered customer purchasing behaviors and spending patterns.

The Top 10 Priorities according to UNCTAD

  • Vaccinating the world
  • Revitalize the multilateral trade system
  • End the crew-change crisis
  • Vaccinate seafarers
  • Facilitate crew changes
  • Ensure reliable and efficient maritime transport
  • Mainstream supply chain resilience, risk assessment and preparedness
  • Control costs
  • Decarbonize
  • Climate-proof maritime transport

Even though the initial effect of covid-19 wasn’t as bad as expected and definitely less severe than anticipated, the future and the recovery of maritime trade is still unclear and will be determined by the “pandemic’s development, the scope of global vaccination initiatives, and the duration of policy support measures.”

The maritime sector is always working towards achieving sustainability on both the operational and environmental level. All Seas Shipping, as part of the maritime ecosystem contributing to international trade, leverages its services and experience to drive sustainable operations, invest in new technologies, and keep seafarers and staff safe.

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