According to UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2022 , the maritime industry needs to take action and focus on ten specific areas to move forward.
#1 Governments should control the pandemic and mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable
This calls for better access to vaccines, testing and to therapies, particularly in developing countries. Governments will need to minimize lockdowns and restrictions that could unduly penalize recovery in vulnerable economies.
#2 Support growth, protect the poorest, and enable trade
- Promote economic growth and strengthen macroeconomic frameworks, while taming inflation and
reducing financial vulnerability.
- Help the most vulnerable by promoting food security and reducing poverty.
- Avoid export and import restrictions that compound disruptions.
#3 Tackle supply side infrastructure and services constraints
- Before investment, carefully assess potential changes in shipping demand.
- Enhance transport infrastructure, improve port performance and productivity, enable connectivity, expand storage and warehousing space and capabilities, minimize labour and equipment shortages, and generally make ports and their hinterland connections more efficient and adequate to handle shifts in demand.
- Develop and upgrade port infrastructure and hinterland connections while involving the private sector.
- Develop regional fleets and shipping services to tackle high transport costs and other challenges faced by developing countries.
#4 Implement transport and trade facilitation solutions at ports and borders
- Speed up processes through digitalization, particularly pre-arrival processing, electronic payments, and e-documents. Continuously simplify procedures and requirements and remove those no longer needed. For any trade measure, choose the least trade restrictive.
- Adopt smart and green trade logistics systems and remove legal and regulatory obstacles to the use of electronic documents.
- Facilitate crew changes and address the seafarers crew change crisis, through collective action by governments and industry.
- Coordinate efforts, enhance collaboration, share information and prepare for coordinated solutions.
- Employ real-time, digital platforms and electronic single windows using the AIS/GIS system.
#5 Move to a clean-energy and low-emissions future
- Establish a predictable global regulatory framework for investing in the energy transition and decarbonization.
- Raise awareness of the new IMO regulations and support implementation and compliance.
- Help ports in developing countries harness the energy transition and decarbonization.
#6 Encourage digitalization and tapping the opportunities from e-commerce
- Help developing countries expand the use of digitalization and e-commerce, and adopt smart maritime logistics. Provide more training, particularly for the use of new technology.
- Upgrade trade facilitation and logistics infrastructure and services, including last-mile logistics.
#7 Monitor freight rates and charges
- Monitor industry trends and, when necessary, take action to ensure level playing field that does not exclude smaller players, including stakeholders in developing countries.
- Establish monitoring tools and performance measurements, including regional maritime indices and freight observatories.
- Introduce mandatory controls on demurrage charges for containers at ports, and strengthen formal and informal dispute resolution mechanisms.
#8 Ensure competitive markets
- Strengthen the capacity of national regulators as well as competition and port authorities, especially in SIDS and LDCs and introduce more transparent indices for freight costs, similar to those available for the main shipping routes.
- Competition and port authorities should work together respond to vertical integration of carriers with measures to protect competition.
- Strengthen international cooperation on cross-border, anti-competitive practices in maritime transport, including on the basis of the UN Set of Competition Rules and Principles, and using the expertise of UNCTAD.
#9 Build resilience
- Establish a long-term vision and resource mobilization strategy for resilient and sustainable maritime supply chains.
- Help developing countries build capacities to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from, significant multi-hazard threats, by promoting agile and resilient maritime transport systems.
- Invest in risk management and emergency preparedness for pandemics and other disruptive events in ports and maritime supply chains.
- Upscale capacity-building and affordable infrastructure finance for climate change adaptation and resilience-building of seaports and other critical transport infrastructure in developing countries.
- When reconfiguring supply chains and deciding on where to locate production for more resilient supply chains, options should be carefully assessed to balance efficiency and cost savings, and concerns for national security, autonomy, self-reliance and resilience.
- Employ more women in ports and scale up staff training as a resilience-building strategy.
#10 Revitalize multilateral cooperation
- Build stronger and more effective multilateral cooperation frameworks that can reduce conflict and disruptions, accelerate a robust and inclusive global recovery, address climate change and its impacts, and move towards low-carbon growth.