Opinion: Trump Bad Omen For Our Industry


With voting over, the bruising 2016 US presidential election draws to close and Donald Trump has emerged as the victor, but what does it mean for our industry?

Running a largely nationalistic campaign, critical of foreigners taking American jobs and critical of international free trade deals, it spoke to the industrial heartlands of America, where many workers have lost their jobs and livelihoods to overseas competition.

This insular approach, aimed at levying huge import taxes on foreign-produced goods to stir a homegrown industrial renaissance, is the complete antipode of today's globalised economic system. Crucially, it attacks the very foundation of what has driven growth in the port and shipping industries over the past two decades.

Read the views of regular PTI contributor, Olaf Merk, on the impact Trump's policies will have on shipping

Could the rise in nationalistic politics as embodied by Mr Trump, but certainly not exclusive to him, signal a new challenge for ports and shipping? The current slow demand growth, low rates and overcapacity could become the new normal, should other countries turn their back on tariff-free international trade.

The UK public may have already suffered the same fate when it voted to leave the European Union. Although the negotiations for Brexit have yet to begin, the country's continued membership of the EU's single market looks in serious jeopardy.

Will other countries follow suit? Will more domestic production replace the global trade system we have come to recognise today? Time will tell, but it certainly looks like a bad omen for our industry.

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