A new survey, conducted by terminal solutions provider Navis, has revealed that the shipping industry is concerned by the threat of trade protectionism and cyber-attacks, despite optimism about the growth of the maritime sector.
The inaugural Navis Business Bellwether report, which includes responses from more than 175 industry professionals and executives, found that 82% of participants anticipate improved profitability over the next 12 months.
While growth is expected to come from all regions of the world, especially “robust” activity has been predicted in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
According to statistics provided by the report, 12% of respondents are “very optimistic” about the global business environment, while another 46% have expressed “cautious optimism”. 41% of participants say they are either somewhat or very concerned.
The most dominant worry for industry, as revealed in the Bellwether report, is the rise of trade protectionism and new tariffs, a third of those surveyed describing this problem as extremely concerning.
Other top risks highlighted by the survey include rising fuel costs, a lack of process efficiency, continued industry consolidation and the disruption of labour.
Credit: Navis Business Bellwether Report
Dave Murray, head of thought leadership for the BPI Network, said: “A return to industry growth and improvements in shipping supply and demand have resulted in increased optimism among maritime industry executives and professionals.
“At the same time, the industry appears to be very focused on raising operational performance and profitability through improvements in process quality and efficiency and increased investments in technology.”
Brian Hibbert, CIO of International Container Terminal Services, provided a less optimistic forecast: “I would not expect a significant change in profitability in the next 12 months.
“I expect more activity when it comes to mergers and acquisitions in the terminal operating space as companies try to optimize their portfolios to achieve a profitable position.”