The world of logistics and shipping is constantly changing. Following the COVID-19 Pandemic to the fiscal recovery and subsequent supply chain crisis, it seems the internal supply chain is vulnerable to innovation as well as disruption.
The global shipping outlook remains mixed. That is, cargo development is weak while capacity is presently the most significant facet to watch. Merged with recovered demand for oil and prolonged trade routes, there’s a tight market, resulting in extended higher rates and the need for innovative products such as a marine fuel bladder. Here’s a look at the global shipping outlook.
International trade underwent contraction towards the end of 2022 after the rationalization of piled- up inventories and the industrial and economic stagnation in Europe and the U.S. On the same note, global trade has entered an era of lower growth because of protectionism and geopolitical concerns. As a result, we foresee low growth in 2024, which implies that shipping tonnage is equally under pressure.
The effect of longer routes is evident in tanker shipping because Russian oil flows to India and China at a discounted price rather than making a brief haul to Europe. Conversely, Western countries have moved away from importing Russian oil and crude products. Instead, they have begun importing crude oil from the US and Saudi Arabia as well as refined oil products such as diesel from India. This means that tonnage will possibly increase. Thankfully, the introduction of flexibags has equally resulted in the improvement of bulk liquid shipping.
Although the concept of digitalization in shipping has been the focus of debate, we foresee it being a reality for numerous shippers in the coming year. The fact is that the Covid pandemic and shift to remote work have compelled the logistics and shipping industry to adopt digitalization.
As such, major shipping players went digital, and in numerous cases, adopted their tools and software systems for their clients. We recognize that AI and blockchain technology could automate and digitalize shipping further. We expect that development in those areas will enhance real-time shipment tracking as well as supply chain visibility to enhance the software that’s been deployed already in the industry.
Greener practices and sustainability have been the core of discussion for years. However, frequent and expensive natural disasters have become the norm amid fluctuating climate. This has forced the shipping industry to take bold measures. Consequently, we’ve observed internal shipping regulators implementing regulations requiring measures such as cleaner fuel. We’ve also noted developments of products such as our flexibags for sale, which go a long way in facilitating bulk liquid shipping.
We therefore expect bolder moves by 2024. It’s worth noting that ports globally have had to suspend operations sporadically because of climate-related events. Over the past couple of years, the private sector has developed initiatives to enhance zero-carbon shipping by 2050 or sooner in some cases. We’ve seen shipping leaders, for instance, Maersk leading the way while the construction of new ships is taking place with substitute fuel and electricity in mind. Still, it’s going to take some time before logistics goes green completely. On the same note, you might want to look into our flexibags for sale for bulk liquid shipping.
The Covid pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in international supply chains. Consequently, companies are reconsidering their strategies in the supply chain to improve resilience and adopt risk management. This includes the diversification of suppliers, and altering how products are sourced. We’ve equally noted that analytics is becoming even more significant and will play a huge role in recognizing possible risks and related responses.
As the world of shipping digitizes, we see cybersecurity becoming more significant than ever. The shipping industry in general will likely invest a lot in cybersecurity in 2024. The shipping industry will move towards the implementation of cybersecurity as sensitive data moves to the cloud and shippers recognize that there’s exponential growth in cyber risks following the Covid pandemic.
The industry is expected to invest considerably in cybersecurity to enable sensitive data protection and ensure protection against cargo theft while preventing cyber-attacks that affect operations. This means that multifactor authentication will continually become the norm in shipping like in other industries.
We recognize that efficiency in unloading, loading, and transporting offers numerous benefits. We find that it saves shippers fuel and time. On the same note, efficiency can help decrease carbon emissions and other types of pollution. It’s worth noting that freight transport is responsible for approximately 30% of the emitted carbon from the power generation and transportation industries. Other technology developments include the adoption of flexibags for sale, which has proved vital in bulk shipping.
There’s been development of advanced plastics in producing IBCs such as totes and drums. The IBCs are safe for transporting bulk liquid and food grade. A benefit of IBCs is that the advanced materials are lighter and reusable than stainless steel tanks, reducing waste while increasing fuel efficiency in liquid transport.
Furthermore, advanced IBCs permit shippers to transport liquids using flatbed trailers instead of tanker trailers. The flexibility is a major benefit given current labor difficulties that have restricted the capacity of freight carriers in some instances. Flexibags have also enhanced bulk liquid shipping while ensuring efficiency.
Besides the longer lead times brought forth by driver shortage, regulatory developments have complicated scheduling and slowed trucking. Global liquid shippers must currently explain delays at the U.S.-Mexico border brought by liquid tank inspections to ensure they’re empty upon return from a delivery. The anti-smuggling initiative is under enforcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In 2019, there was a chronic shortage of drivers, which resulted from a higher truck driver demand because of online shopping growth and the aging-out of older drivers. It’s estimated that the industry should hire 110,000 drivers on average annually to meet growing demands for new drivers and replace retiring ones.
The shortage forced shippers to shift or develop practices to adapt to the extended lead times required to schedule shipments. Furthermore, the American government has implemented some programs to encourage entry into this industry, for instance, waiving certain prerequisites for drivers with military experience and training while permitting military truck drivers below 21 years to qualify for interstate commercial driver licenses.
If you’re looking to enter the shipping industry in 2024, we recommend you familiarize yourself with the current market and understand the outlook before taking the step. For instance, you might want to consider our flexibags, which are very convenient for bulk shipping needs. Thankfully, we highlight the global outlook in this industry. This way, you’ll understand what products your business needs in the coming year to stand out.