Resilient supply chains and changing trade
International trade made possible by maritime transport has been a critical driver for global growth and development over the last fifty years. But geopolitical conflict, a global pandemic, infrastructure and labor shortfalls, and changing trade patterns have revealed significant weaknesses in global supply chains, with grave consequences for the global economy and the lives of citizens around the world.
This has led to questions on the sustainability of the globalized economic model relying on a highly efficient transport and logistics network. To increase resilience, some are calling for a reshoring of manufacturing, more vertical integration of supply chains as well as a diversification of suppliers.
The war in Ukraine has underlined that access to food and energy is not only an economic necessity – it is also a security imperative. Geopolitical conflict, war, and sanctions are directly impacting the trade of energy commodities and could lead to widespread hunger and political instability. Both in the shorter and longer term, countries will seek to balance the need for energy security with the need to decarbonize.
To overcome these challenges, we need to improve the efficiency and the resiliency of global seaborne trade. What will be needed to
unlock new ways of collaborating in a fragmented industry?
- What has the maritime industry learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and the current supply chain disruptions that it can use to build more resilient and robust supply chains and thus safeguard the benefits of global trade?
- What role can the maritime industry play in ensuring access to food and energy in developing countries, which are likely to be impacted the most by the ongoing trade disruptions?
- How can the maritime industry unlock the potential of digitalization and data sharing to increase resilience and efficiency in global supply chains?
“The global maritime industry is the lifeblood of global trade ensuring access to energy, food, and goods all around the globe. But the events over the past 24 months have shown us how fragile global supply chains are in times of political, environmental, technological, and economic upheaval. We need to learn from these events and find ways of creating a more resilient seaborne trading system together, where the safety of personnel, including seafarers, is consistently put first and companies can thrive while serving both people and the planet.”
Dr. Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, Administrator, Panama Canal Authority