Shipping industry unprepared to deal with global issues

Senior stakeholders believe that the global maritime industry is not prepared to deal with major issues that are likely to impact it over the next 10 years. This is according to a new report from the Global Maritime Forum, Marsh, and the International Union of Marine Insurance.

The first industry report of its kind, the Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2018 examines the impact and likelihood of 17 major risks based on research among senior maritime stakeholders across over 50 countries around the world. According to the research, the maritime industry does not appear to be prepared for any of these issues. Worryingly, this is amplified by the fact that the risks the industry are least prepared for are the ones deemed to have potentially the biggest impact on the sector.

Cyber-attacks and data theft appeared to be the maritime industry’s Achilles’ heel. In addition to being ranked as the top issue that the industry was least prepared for, executives believed that the highest likelihood of occurring and was only surpassed by a global economic crisis and energy price fluctuations in terms of impact.

According to Richard Smith-Bingham, “the sector understandably feels unprepared for cyber-attacks because the threat landscape is constantly evolving and attack surfaces are broadening as companies throughout the value chain take increasing advantage of opportunities based on interconnectivity and automation.”

Other threats to shipping are poorly prepared for is a global economic crisis, geopolitical tensions and air pollution. The two lasts also end up in the top of the list for what the stakeholders are likely to think will happen.

In the Issues Monitor’s deep dive on decarbonization, The IMO identifies four major pathways towards emissions reductions: improvements in energy efficiency, renewable sources of energy, fuels with lower carbon content and technologies to remove emissions released during operations. If the maritime industry is to deliver on the IMO’s 2050 goal, all pathways are likely to play a part in the future of shipping.

The problem is that the industry lacks a strategy for this and it’s an issue which the industry feels less prepared to take charge of. This could be explained by the fact that none of the competing technological alternatives to fossil fuels are currently seen as sufficiently mature or cost-effective. As other sectors decarbonize and trade continues to grow at a steady clip, shipping’s share of global GHG emissions will therefore continue to disproportionally increase, and the maritime industry’s role in addressing climate concerns thus cannot be overlooked.


The Global Maritime Forum is an international non profit foundation, aiming to boost the potential of the global maritime industry. It tries to shape the future of global seaborne trade in order to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human well-being.
The Forum was created as there was a need for a common platform for high-level leaders from the entire maritime spectrum to drive positive change for the industry and society.