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Shipping and Freight in 2018 – a review of the year that was

shipping and freight resource year end analysisWell, another year has gone by.. 2018 has been consigned to the annals of history..

2019 is here, all shiny, sparkling and new, ready to carry the world of global trade, its cargo, its ships, its burdens, its struggles and bear the fruits or consequences of the developments and actions that took place in the industry.. in 2018..

As with every year, in 2018 as well, our world and our industry went through a lot of changes both good and bad..

From the entry of ONE into the container shipping market to all major lines preparing for the IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap, it has been an eventful year for the shipping and freight industry..

Here is my review of 2018 and the year that it was, for the shipping and freight industry..


Global Trade & Shipping

In terms of shipping and the world fleet,

  • China, Republic of Korea and Japan led the world’s shipbuilding activities accounting for around 90.5% of global deliveries
  • Greece, Japan, China and Germany led the world in terms of fleet ownership, together accounting for around  44.2% of the world’s fleet
  • India, Bangladesh and Pakistan continue to lead the world in the dangerous and labour intensive work of ship scrapping

2018 was also the year of the “trade wars” between USA and a few countries and blocs prompting the WTO to revise the world merchandise trade volume’s growth forecast to 3.9% in 2018..

As per WTO reports, trade volume growth should slow to 3.7% in 2019 as global GDP growth dips to 2.9%..

While rising trade tensions pose the biggest risk to the forecast, monetary policy tightening and associated financial volatility could also destabilize trade and output..

Current trade-related indicators show a loss of momentum, including global export orders and economic policy uncertainty..

North America had the fastest export growth in global trade in 2018, Asia had the strongest import growth while resource-based economies faced a struggle..

World seaborne trade is projected to expand at a rate of 3.8% between 2018 and 2023 as volumes across all segments are set to grow, with containerized and dry bulk commodities trades expected to be the best performers..

But experts warn that although prospects for seaborne trade are positive, there are still several uncertainties surrounding the sustainability of the recovery and its implications on shipping..

These uncertainties are attributed to the confluence of geopolitical, economic and trade policy risks, rebalancing of the Chinese economy, slower growth of global value chains and changes in the global energy mix..


Some of the firsts in 2018 in shipping

Albeit in small volumes, in 2018, some of the shipping lines and shippers have started using bio-fuels made out of vegetable oils to power the ships and carry their cargo..

Venta Maersk became the first container ship to successfully trial the Northern Sea Route starting from Vladivostok, Russia calling Saint Petersburg, Vostochny, and Busan, before passing through Bering Strait on her way to Bremerhaven, Germany..

The first intermodal freight train from Chengdu arrived at the South Container Terminal in Vienna IN JUST 14 DAYS covering a distance of 9,800 kms perhaps re-emphasizing the importance of freight rail in global trade..

2018 also had its share of maritime disasters and hopefully some lessons were learnt from the unfortunate loss of lives on board the Maersk Honam..

A US court holding the Shipper and Container Operator liable for explosion on MSC Flaminia re-emphasizes that fact why everyone needs to play their part in making shipping safe and sustainable for all, especially the ships crew..


The digital year for shipping

In my opinion, 2018 was a pilot year for many of the digital technologies that were tried and tested in preparation for the digital disruption and innovation in the shipping and freight industry in the coming years..

were some of the main digital flavours of the year..


World Matters

Elsewhere in the world some of the main issues that could affect our industry were below..

Donald Trump‘s imposition of tariffs against China in the main and a few other countries/blocs like EU, Canada and Mexico has been seen by many as sparking what the market is terming as trade wars and wars of any kind are not good for the world..

Theresa May is still fighting for Brexit on the back of several divisions within her party and there seems to be no clear indication on whether Brexit will happen as a lot of the positive vibes around Brexit seems to have dissipated in 2018..

Mid-January 2019 holds the key to whether the UK will leave the EU on 29 March as MPs are due to vote in the House of Commons on the proposals reached with the EU..

The impact of Brexit on the shipping industry (if it happens) is totally up in the air at the moment..

China continues to consolidate its economic position globally and its global domination took center stage in 2018 with many citing examples of China’s take over of Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and impending take over of Zesco in Zambia apparently due to unpaid loans from China as neo-colonialism..


Shipping and Freight Resource

In 2018, Shipping and Freight Resource celebrated a decennary, a decennium, a decade or in simple English, 10 years of helping people to Seek » Learn » Know » Grow in the shipping and freight industry having been viewed over 9.2 million times by over 4.8 million visitors..

The below articles are the top ranking articles based on your visits..

  1. Difference between House bill of lading and Master bill of lading
  2. Difference between Demurrage and Detention
  3. What is a HS Code..??
  4. How to calculate CBM and Freight Ton
  5. What is CY-CY Term in Container Shipping..??
  6. What is a Switch Bill of Lading and when and why is it used..??
  7. What is a Delivery Order and who issues it..??
  8. What is a reefer container and how does it work..??
  9. Difference between a Liner and Tramp service
  10. Difference between a Freight Forwarder and NVOCC

These are some of my picks from among the hundreds of articles on this site..

While it is an honor that this resource is being visited by readers from some of the main maritime centers of the world such as SingaporeUKIndia and UAE, which form part of the Top 10 countries visiting my blog, I am equally honored to receive visitors from some of the remote countries like GuernseyÅland IslandsWallis & FutunaSt.Pierre & Miquelon and many more..



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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..



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