The maritime industry will be most impacted by the decarbonisation of shipping and upcoming environmental regulations in the next decade according to a Global Maritime Forum (GMF) survey. But, the fallout from the war in Ukraine is now a prominent concern in shipping, along with workforce and skill shortages.

The Global Maritime Issues Monitor — produced by the GMF, the International Union of Marine Insurance and insurance broker Marsh — reflects the opinion of senior maritime stakeholders on key issues likely to impact the sector in the next 10 years, and the industry’s preparedness to face them.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, geopolitical tension has become one of the top concerns in the industry. The GMF survey indicated the industry’s preparedness to handle the fallout is still rated as high.

“The maritime industry has a long history of facing disruptions and uncertainty. The industry’s relative preparedness in the face of recent upsets can likely be linked to its long-standing experience and ability to react to route disruptions and changes in the geopolitical environment, though supply chain uncertainties continue to be a concern,” said Marcus Baker, global head of marine & cargo at Marsh Specialty.

Following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, disruptions in the energy market and fuel price increases ranked, for the first time, as the issue most likely to occur over the next 10 years.

But, issues linked to decarbonisation and climate change continued to be rated highly in terms of impact and likelihood. The industry’s perceived level of preparedness to tackle these problems has also increased.

“This year’s findings confirm last year’s trend: decarbonisation is a top issue for the maritime industry. Decarbonising shipping is an enormous challenge, but it is encouraging to see that the industry’s confidence in its ability to overcome this challenge is growing,” said IUMI president Richard Turner.

New environmental regulations and decarbonisation of shipping dropped from the number one and two spots in likelihood in 2021 to third and fifth, respectively.

The GMF survey respondents expressed concern that the war between Russia and Ukraine, with its high impact on energy use, is drawing attention away from climate issues.

Survey respondents were also asked about the importance of five human sustainability issues, and how likely it was that their company would implement strategies to address them.

Skill shortages

Attracting and retaining talent were seen as the most important issues. Workforce and skill shortages, an issue in the main part of the survey, moved up in impact and down in preparedness.

“Industry leaders are getting more involved in improving overall human sustainability across the maritime industry, particularly on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Making this a strategic focus is crucial if wanting to attract and retain the workforce of today and the future,” said Susanne Justesen, project director of human sustainability at the GMF.