GLOBAL seaborne trade, which experienced a marginal contraction of 0.4 percent in 2022, is poised for a recovery in 2023, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) said on Wednesday.
According to its report titled “Review of Maritime Trade 2023,” the global shipping industry, though still grappling with challenges from the pandemic and disruptions in supply chains, is “showing resilience amidst shifting trade patterns.”
The report said the industry underwent “significant challenges,” including the lingering effects of the global supply chain crunch, a softening container shipping market, and the impact of the war in Ukraine on shipping patterns.
Despite these, Unctad projects a 2.4-percent growth in maritime trade volume for 2023.
Meanwhile, coming from a 3.7-percent decline in 2022, containerized trade is expected to grow by 1.2 percent this year and over 3 percent between 2024 and 2028, according to Unctad.
This, however, is still below the long-term average growth rate of around 7 percent as observed in the previous 30 years.
Furthermore, Unctad noted that container shipping may also be “grappling with overcapacity,” leading carriers to employ strategies like vessel idling or even demolition to manage supply levels.
It said the “most pressing challenge” that the industry is facing is the need to “transition towards decarbonization while sustaining economic growth.”
“Undoubtedly, the key challenge for the sector is that the maritime industry must embark on a transformative journey towards decarbonization while sustaining economic growth. Balancing environmental sustainability, regulatory compliance and economic demands is vital for a prosperous, equitable and resilient maritime transport future,” the report read.
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