2022 World of Shipping Portugal

An International Research Conference on Maritime Affairs

27 - 28 January or 3 - 4 February 2022, from Portugal to the World

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Message from the Chairman

When we started preparing the 2021 World of Shipping Portugal Conference, in December 2019, we were all living everyday life. We had just finished the 2019 World of Shipping Portugal Conference and were travelling either for work or leisure, going to restaurants, meeting friends among many other personal activities. At that time, much emphasis was being put on the impact of shipping on the environment. Environmental concerns other than oil pollution, such as noxious liquid substances, sewage, garbage, and invasive species from ballast water, forced IMO to release a range of legislative measures to mitigate the impact of shipping operations on the environment. Moreover, the world focus on climate change, led the IMO, in 2016, to issue the IMO 2020. As from 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used onboard ships operating outside designated emission control areas was reduced to 0.5% m/m (mass by mass) from the existing 3.5% limit, while in designated emission control areas the limit remained at 0.10%. Such a significant change meant that most ships would have to stop burning high-sulphur fuels and switch to new types of compliant fuel oils, namely very low sulphur fuel oil or marine gas/diesel oil or install scrubbers. Concerning the latter, the market expected that scrubbers would be installed on around 4,000 ships. While approaching the end of the year, the IMO 2020 rule, was seen as a daunting challenge. In October 2019, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim claimed that the success of the IMO 2020 depended upon collaboration among key stakeholders and highlighted the vast amount of work necessary towards its implementation. Moreover, the supply of the low sulphur fuel oil was viewed by many as a concern even though the bunker industry claimed that the low sulphur fuel oil supply was expected to be readily available in most locations.
In January 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic changed the functioning of the overall economy. As we moved into 2020, the coronavirus outbreak forced governments to adopt numerous unprecedented, preventive measures to reduce the number of infected people and to avoid that the number of human lives being lost increased even further. However, the implementation of such measures, namely social distancing, wearing face masks in public, hand washing, to name a few, have resulted in global social and economic disruptions. Most of the worldwide population has been forced to confinement periods. Teleworking has become the norm. Many educational institutions have been partially or fully closed. Shopping has been limited to the absolutely essential. In many countries, panic buying exacerbated widespread supply shortages; in others, there has been agricultural disruption and food shortages. Events have been cancelled, postponed or transferred online. The market witnessed the emergence of online platforms such as the one we are using among many others.
Putting everything together, this succession of events has affected and is still having a tremendous impact on businesses worldwide. In April 2020, the International Monetary Fund forecasted global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 per cent, while the World Trade Organisation projected a world trade to fall by between 13% and 32%, indicating a world recession, that many already classify as the largest global recession since the Great Depression. The COVID-19 Pandemic has been stressing how nations are globally interdependent, raising questions about the globalization process witnessed over the last decades, drawing attention to reshoring and nearshoring rather than outsourcing goods from distant locations. Moreover, it has shown that all economic activities, including transport, were utterly unprepared to deal with such public health crisis. Concerning this unpreparedness, the UNCTAD 2020 report draws attention to the need for investing in risk management and emergency response preparedness in transport and logistics.
The COVID-19 Pandemic also impacted on the maritime industry. Maritime trade has slowed due to weakening economic growth and trade tensions, and many of the world’s largest ports have reported reductions in the cargo volumes being handled. In November 2020, the UNCTAD estimated that global maritime trade is expected to decrease by 4.1% in 2020, due to the unprecedented disruptions caused by COVID-19 Pandemic. The short-term outlook for maritime trade is severe. The current pandemic waves prevent foreseeing when the industry recovers even though UNCTAD expects maritime trade growth of 4.8% in 2021, assuming a world economic recovery. However, they will have other impacts on economies and supply chains resulting in further decline and disruptions.
The shipping industry has continued to operate worldwide to support the movement of essential supplies and medicines needed to keep countries run and deal with the global public health crisis, despite the 10% decrease in the shipping traffic claimed by SeaIntelligence for 2020. Maritime sector players had to adjust their operations, finances, sanitary and safety protocols, working practices and procedures to overcome disruptions derived from the current Pandemic.Looking deep into the matter, the industry faces serious issues. For instance, the container shipping cut their available capacity and reduced costs to keep their profitability levels instead of market share. Simultaneously, the cruise industry stopped its operations by temporarily laying up many large cruise vessels around the US East Coast. Likewise, many tanker ships are idling around major oil ports and terminals in the United States, Europe and Africa, and exposed to extreme weather conditions, piracy and political risks. Associated with this drop in demand for shipping services the industry is currently facing severe pressures derived from its inability 1) to change crews resulting in a humanitarian and welfare crisis, 2) to comply with the existing and forthcoming regulatory framework thus preventing from achieving the 2030 and 2050 environmental goals 3) to run their vessels’ operations in the most efficient way causing shipowners some ‘serious’ headaches and 4) to keep maritime supply chains operating effectively and efficiently.Some experts even claim that these disruptions do not necessarily mean damaging the shipping industry. They even suggest that the current crisis could become the key driver for the industry to witness digital and technological advancements. Furthermore, they indicate that the industry can invest in freight technologies and companies providing data analysis, artificial intelligence software, and overall end-to-end supply chain management.
Finding an alternative to the shipping industry is still difficult.  Although air freight is faster than shipping, it is costlier and lacks the necessary capacity. In March 2020, the air freight rates for sending cargo across the Pacific Ocean tripled due to many airliners suspending their service to China. Likewise, railway transport also suffers from a lack of transport capacity, and the current fright rates are also eight-times higher than in normal circumstances. With this challenging background that the 2022 World of Shipping Portugal, an International Research Conference on Maritime Affairs central theme is “Maritime Economics in the Post-Covid-19 Pandemic”. The Conference wants to establish itself as a meeting point of reference bringing together the industry, leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of maritime transport to promote a better future for the industry.
Welcome to Portugal, the birthplace of the World Discoveries!
26 January 2021
Ana Casaca
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About the Conference Organiser

The Conference organization is under the responsibility of Ana Casaca. Ana Cristina Casaca holds a PhD in International Transport/Logistics. Her academic background is supported by her nautical career in the shipping industry. After being at sea for a couple of years, she earned her Bachelor Degree in Management and Maritime Technologies at ENIDH in 1995, her M.Sc. Degree in International Logistics at the Institute of Marine Studies, the University of Plymouth in 1997, her professional accreditation from the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers in 1998, and her PhD in International Transport/Logistics in 2003. She has published several articles of a professional nature in some Portuguese industry magazines and several research papers in well-known international maritime-related journals. Since 2003, she has been invited by the European Commission to evaluate transport-related proposals and review transport-related projects, as well as peer review academic papers. She cooperated with Cargo Edições and chaired the 2010 Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists and the 2012 International Research Conference on Short Sea Shipping. In cooperation with Leo Tadeu Robles, she translated into Portuguese the third edition of the “Maritime Economics” book written by Martin Stopford. Presently, she manages the ‘World of Shipping Portugal’ initiative (of which she is Founder and Owner), is External Evaluator on Transport Matters for the European Commission, Member of the Research Centre on Modelling and Optimisation of Multifunctional Systems (CIMOSM, ISEL), Associate Editor of Maritime Business Review and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of International Logistics and Trade. She is also Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) and Member of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME). For further information about her click here.
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