Opinion

If you facilitate 90% of the world's trade, would you influence change?


by Melvin Mathews - published on 1 December 2020 73 -

This article was already published on MelĀ“s Musing blog on May 9th 2020
(see link at the end of the article)


The shipping industry is a well-oiled machinery for moving global trade. To understand its staggering size and impact, one must know what it's transportation market share is. It is estimated that roughly 90% of cargo around the planet is moved on ships. So significant is its contribution to the world, that many do not realise if the shipping industry were to stop suddenly, supermarkets shelves would be empty in 3 days. In comparison if one looks at aviation, air-cargo accounts for less than 1% of the total cargo moved globally.


Without a shadow of doubt, shipping is a key enabler of our current way of life and the globalized world we live in today. The irony is that the average person is unaware of the significance or contribution of the shipping industry and how much we rely on ships working without disruption. Perhaps the industry is to blame for this general lack of awareness. But we have to give credit where it is due, because shipping has operated relatively smoothly and without significant disruption through stock-market booms and busts. This is quite remarkable even though shipping is an extremely diverse and fragmented industry.
However, there is one thing that stands out whenever there is a crisis and that is the apparent lack of unity within the industry. Every shock to the industry reveals even more clearly the disbanded nature of shipping, driven purely by fierce competition and lack of any consensus. Here are a few incidents witnessed:
  • During the early part of the decade when there was glut of ships, big shipowners sat together at an event and angrily complained that owners should stop ordering new ships because the market was already flooded with excess tonnage. Yet the very next day the same owner who bought up the subject, signed a deal with a shipyard for a series of 10 extra-large vessels.
  • A few months later with rock bottom freight rates & TCEs, and sky-high fuel prices the CEO of a big company was in tears explaining how the company was haemorrhaging due to astronomical operating costs and historically low earnings.
  • In the last few years every time a new regulation comes out, individually companies are screaming their lungs out, saying they have barely recovered from the last recession and cannot afford any further cost of compliance immediately.
  • This year many shipowners and managers in their new digital avatars on social media, have privileged us with rants on how crew-change has been an issue for seafarers and how they are struggling to arrange it.
Within the industry we have hardly come across an article, presentation or speech which proudly does not proclaim that 90% of the world's goods are carried by sea. Yet never once have we seen the shipping industry collectively coming together to leverage that dominant position. If it were to happen, we could have solved most problems rather quickly. This forces us to ask a few tough questions:
  • The taxi service in any part of the world has a minimum rate which covers the cost of operation and includes a minimum profit. Is it so hard for globally operating shipowners to come to consensus with charterers on such a mutually agreed minimum rate for the sustainability of their business and the industry?
  • The International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code was rapidly brought into force after a terrorist attack. The IMO deserves full credit for speed of processing the much-needed regulation. How difficult is it for shipowners to collectively come to a consensus on not to offer their ships to trade in countries that refuse crew shore-leave or crew-change at their ports?
Do you think such things are doable & what will be it's impact?

Or will the industry wait for seafarers to take matters into their own hands:https://bit.ly/32vloFq

What other problems and pain points do you think we could solve if the shipping industry came together?



Let me know your thoughts.
Editor's note:
Opinion pieces reflect the personal opinion of individual authors. They do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about a prevailing opinion in the respective editorial department. Opinion pieces might be deliberately formulated in a pronounced or even explicit tone and may contain biased arguments. They might be intended to polarise and stimulate discussion. In this, they deliberately differ from the factual articles you typically find on this platform, written to present facts and opinions in as balanced a manner as possible.
What's your opinion on this?
Login or register to write comments and join the discussion!
Read more...

Opinion Should the Captain go down with the ship?

by Melvin Mathews - published on 10 November 2020

At one point, the Captain on the Ship while being highly respected, also carried great responsibility and had the ultimate accountability for everything on board. But this respect, responsibility and accountability has not come overnight, or just when the Captain wears his four stripes.

0

Opinion Human behaviour: the final frontier in efficiency and operational performance management

by Melvin Mathews - published on 23 November 2020

The arrival of machine learning and artificial intelligence has taken efficiency to a whole new level. Software platforms can now suggest maintenance routines, recommend spare-part changes, and even predict breakdowns of machinery.

0

Opinion Titans: Google Maps versus ECDIS

by Melvin Mathews - published on 3 November 2020

Google Maps and ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) can be considered to essentially serve the same purpose. While Google Maps is used for finding our way on land, the ECDIS facilitates navigation at sea.

1

Video Berthing P02 skikda old port M/T duke1

published on 19 December 2019

Video was sent to Marine-Pilots.com by Mohamed Anwar Remichi

0

Video Delaware River Pilots - 2013

published on 26 May 2020

A story I shot on the Delaware river pilots, very cool people who have a very important job. Every cargo ship that has to get anywhere up the Delaware River gets a pilot delivered to it while in the Delaware Bay, who guides it up through the narrow shoals

0

Video From Dusk to Dawn - SOHAR Port

published on 3 June 2021

From Dusk to Dawn SOHAR Port and Freezone
Pacific Warrior (ULOC)
LOA 360m. Draft 22.3 m. Displacement 430k

0

Video MT GRAN COUVA from Sea to Waalhaven, Port of Rotterdam

by Herman Broers - published on 25 February 2021

Awesome video by Herman Broers, "The Rotterdam Pilot".

0

Video Operation "Icebreaker" in Port of Quebec, Canada

published on 28 February 2020

Accelerated icebreaking operation of Pier 28 in the Estuary sector, involving Ocean Group's tugs.

0

Article DanPilot's half-year report reflects transition in a pressured market

by DanPilot - published on 5 October 2021

The first half of 2021 is a testament to the organisation of DanPilot, a pilotage company that has been diligently adapting to a smaller market as a result of the fallout from Covid-19.

0

Video Polaris Pilot Boat Antwerp Belgium

published on 15 March 2022

Vessel name: Polaris ; Year built: 2012 ; Flag: Netherlands ; Homeport: Rotterdam Length: 81.2m X 13.3m ; GRT: 2501 ; Callsign: PBZN ; MMSI:245142000 ; IMO: 9496915 Type: Special Vessel / Pilot Ship A "Pilot Ship / Pilot Vessel" is a "special type" of ship in which it accommodates a certain and limited Marine Pilots (Sea, River, Harbor Pilots), it also carries small boats/crafts that are used to tender services to and from the Pilot ship. In a Pilot Vessel, the Pilots can take their time...

1