Ship Management Trends for 2021

How the Shipping Industry is Taking on the Increased Load of Cargo Demand
paper ships
Ceylan Ersoy
Feb 11

Ship management and maritime trends are closely aligned with global issues and developments. Therefore, it is impossible to consider the industry's near future without understanding the political, geographic, and economic dynamics that intimately impact it. Consider the Brexit deal as an example; many European countries were incredibly intimidated by the long-term consequences this deal would have on their trade relations. But, thankfully, preliminary analysis shows that container rates for shipping across Europe continue to manifest strength despite the deal. Now, the near future of the industry will likely be determined by what comes after the Chinese New Year so that the industry experts can track Chinese exporting and understand whether the volume is subject to change. 

Key Developments Tied to the Maritime Industry

2020 was not an easy year for ship management. Why? 

  • The global sphere was deeply impacted by the pandemic, as every industry had to alter its way of doing business drastically. As the world triumphed with discovering one or multiple Covid-19 vaccines early this year, ship management officials will still have to navigate the uncertainty around when different countries complete their normalization processes. While the international business has been impacted in the short term, we see a shift from air freight to container freight, creating an overflow in the supply chain. 

  • Many people neglected the critical impact of Brexit and the novel nature it would deem on the trade relations between the UK and European countries. As the situation's novelty introduces logistical problems, the container freight market may be paying the price. 

  • In Asia, labor returns to manufacturing post-Chinese New Year, and many industries are incredibly keen on avoiding what happened last year with coronavirus imposing lockdowns and minimizing export demand. The Asian sphere experienced equipment shortages in the 2nd half of 2020, especially in the critical exporting hubs, creating significant delays in returning containers to the US and Europe. 

  • Many countries have attempted to adopt new strategies to develop quick turnaround, avoid delays and navigate logistical issues. 

How to Approach the New Year in the Ship Management Ecosystem

These key developments have impacted both shippers and carriers, creating novel challenges around import and export processes. Further, these shifts in container trends may cause a fundamental change in how the maritime market operates. In the first half of 2020, when governments imposed the lockdown globally, many companies turned to optimize scheduling and the effective utilization of vessels to ensure stability in container rates and management and survive in this uncertain ecosystem. 

As the global GDP is expected to increase by 5%, containerized goods' economic demand is likely to increase. Having endured and successfully navigated a tumultuous 2020, carriers are now better equipped to control the supply surges through optimizing operations. A fundamental way to do that is to partner with smart ship management solutions that create responsive, fast, and cloud-based insights in real-time.