Marsh, the Global Maritime Forum, and IUMI recently released an interesting report about some of the critical issues facing the maritime industry. The Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2019 summarizes the survey responses of senior maritime stakeholders from 46 countries and also includes commentary from many other leaders and experts.
Based on the report’s findings, it’s clear that the issues affecting economies worldwide were also top concerns for the maritime industry. Below, we summarize the top three global maritime issues from the report:
Survey respondents overwhelmingly agreed that environmental regulations were likely to have a major impact on the industry over the next decade. Because of its global reach, the maritime sector is in the unique position of being held accountable for both the causes of and solutions to climate change.
Specifically, carbon emission regulations and large-scale decarbonization efforts are expected to have some of the most significant impacts on the industry. Respondents were likely referencing initiatives such as the International Maritime Organization’s strategy, which has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 (compared to 2008). Sulphur regulations are also expected to significantly shift needs and increase fuel prices.
Economic & Geopolitical Issues
According to the report, respondents cited a global economic crisis as the issue with the most potential to impact the industry in the next decade. While many admitted it was the least likely scenario (compared to imminent issues like increased regulations), an economic crisis is undoubtedly the hardest to prepare for.
Current geopolitical tensions are causing worries that contribute to the fear of economic instability and maritime leaders are closely watching political power shifts and changing trade patterns.
One of the experts who contributed to the report was Meredith Sumpter, Head of Research, Strategy and Operations at Eurasia Group. She names “four key geopolitical risks for the maritime sector as fragmentation of global trade, erosion of international institutions, a shift in alliance structures, and an uptick in government intervention.”
Many across the industry are preparing for disruptions to the global supply chain as the demand for power and energy drives global economies.
Cyberattacks and data theft were another top issue for the Global Maritime Issue’s survey respondents. Due to recent high-profile incidents, such as the NotPetya cyberattack on Maersk, digital vulnerabilities have become a huge concern for maritime leaders.
Richard Smith-Bingham, Director of Emerging Risks at Marsh & McLennan Companies Insights, says, “By virtue of being international critical infrastructure, cyber-based intelligence exchanges between governments and shipping companies may be weaker than those for fixed, land-bound assets such as power stations and airports.”
Automation, artificial intelligence, and big data are poised to radically transform the maritime sector. But with increased, data-driven performance in the global supply and logistics chain also comes increased exposure to risk and digital security issues.
The Main Takeaway
The Global Maritime report concluded by stating that most respondents felt the industry was relatively unprepared to handle these top issues—with the subtext that this was a finding from the previous year’s report as well. The other takeaway was a feeling that the industry has the power and expertise to influence the issues, if it takes the necessary steps to prepare and engage resources.