Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Maritime transport sails stormy seas against political and structural headwinds
Shaky outlook for seaborne trade as uncertainty over world economy remains
Environmental sustainability agenda steers maritime industry towards cleaner fuel sources
World maritime trade lost momentum in 2018, with volumes expanding at 2.7%, below the historical averages of 3.0% and 4.1% recorded in 2017.
Total volumes are estimated to have reached 11 billion tons, an all-time high, according to UNCTAD records. UNCTAD is projecting 2.6% growth in 2019 and an annual average growth rate of 3.4% for the period 2019–2024. However, the outlook remains challenging, given the heightened uncertainty regarding trade policy and wide-ranging downside risks clouding the horizon.
Said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi: ‘The dip in maritime trade growth is a result of several trends including a weakening multilateral trading system and growing protectionism. It is a warning that national policies can have a negative impact on the maritime trade and development aspirations of all.’
In 2018, world merchandise trade growth decelerated at an unexpected rate, and tariffs on trade between China and the United States of America escalated amid mounting trade tensions and a proliferation of national trade-restrictive measures.
Apart from trade policy crosscurrents, geopolitics and sanctions, environmental concerns, fuel economics and tensions involving the Strait of Hormuz – a strategic maritime chokepoint – were in the headlines.
Other forces at work continued to slowly reshape the maritime transport landscape. A new normal, contrasting with the historical perspective, appears to be taking hold. This trend is characterized by overall moderate growth in the global economy and trade, a supply chain restructuring in favour of more regionalized trade flows, a continued rebalancing of the Chinese economy, a larger role of technology and services in value chains and logistics, intensified and more frequent natural disasters and climate-related disruptions, and an accelerated environmental sustainability agenda with an increased awareness of the impact of global warming.
A transition to the new normal calls for an improved understanding of the main issues at stake, better planning, and flexible and forward-looking-policies that can effectively anticipate change and enable appropriate response measures that take into account the heterogenous nature of developing countries as a group and their varied local conditions and needs.
A copy of the UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport 2019 is available here:
On 20 November the European Commission commenced the process for reviewing the 2013 TEN-T guidelines with a public consultation before summer.
This was reported the same day and it is learnt that ESPO believes the review should not lead to a complete change of direction in the TEN-T policy.
Furthermore, ESPO believes that the rationale of the 2013 guidelines remains the same: achieving an efficient, sustainable and multimodal Transport Infrastructure Network (TEN) in Europe.
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) however believes that the European Commission should use the review as an opportunity to level the playing field between the maritime and the land links.
In the words of ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost: ‘More than 30 % of intra-EU freight traffic is currently going over sea. The ongoing digitalisation, the progress on the internal market for maritime transport with the new European Single Window Environment framework and the greening of shipping, which seems to be delivering first on the short sea links, will give maritime transport within the EU, and even within one Member State, a new impetus. It is now time to fully recognise the contribution of maritime transport to the aims of Europe’s Transport Infrastructure policy. The maritime dimension must be brought on an equal footing with the land-based corridors and links.’
The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) is currently marking the 15th year of accreditations from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
This notable achievement follows a successful external audit that was conducted by the South Africa-based National Quality Assurance (NQA) representing the Global Certification Body based in the UK.
External auditors covered: the ISO 9001 Standard (Quality Management System), the ISO 14001 Standard (Environmental Management System) and the ISO 45001 Standard (Health and Safety Management System) and as a result conferred Namport with the positive report on all three standards.
In the words of Acting Chief Executive Officer of Namport, Kavin Harry: ‘The importance of this achievement cannot be underestimated especially the impact it has on reassuring our esteemed customers on the quality and safety of our services rendering at our ports. It is therefore, only befitting that I, on behalf of the Executive management team convey our heartfelt appreciation for the great work displayed by all Namport employees resulting into this great achievement.’