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Tuesday, October 6, 2020 

According to the 'Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2020', published by the Global Maritime Forum, insurance broker and risk adviser Marsh, and the International Union of Marine Insurance, the maritime industry is not prepared for future pandemics.

2020 is the first year where pandemics are listed as an issue in the annual ranking. Immediately, it receives the lowest preparedness score of the 19 global issues included in the survey of senior leaders from six continents. The report reveals that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed a number of weaknesses in the maritime value chain, including the inability to protect seafarers’ wellbeing. One red flag in the report relates to the perceived likelihood of future pandemics. Although respondents rank a new pandemic as likely to occur, they place it tenth in likelihood compared to other issues. One outcome of the pandemic has been its impact on the future economy.

“A global economic crisis has moved from ‘likely’ in our survey to a harsh reality and, for the third year in a row, it is the issue that respondents believe can have the greatest impact on the maritime industry in the next 10 years,” said Marcus Baker, marine and cargo head, Marsh JLT Specialty.

Climate and environmental issues, which dominated the Global Maritime Issues Monitor’s 2019 impact ranking, remain high on the list. Climate change, decarbonisation of shipping, and new environmental regulation increase in rankings of impact, likelihood, and preparedness.

“The coronavirus pandemic is rightfully given high priority, but the industry cannot afford to lose track of the long-term threats posed by climate change. It is crucial that we stay alert,” said Peter Stokes, Chairman, Global Maritime Forum. He finds it encouraging that the report’s expert commentators point out that Covid-19 may catalyse the decarbonisation of shipping as governments plan stimulus packages to restart their economies.

Decarbonisation of shipping takes the second position in the impact ranking. Its impact is only perceived as slightly lower than the one of a global economic crisis.

Digitalisation has been proved by Covid-19 to be a shortcoming in the industry. Leaders consider the industry unprepared for issues such as autonomy technology, cyber-attacks and data theft, and big data and artificial intelligence. “We need updated digital technologies in order to improve transparency, traceability and resilience in supply chains. Those who already had that in place before the coronavirus pandemic, operated more smoothly in the course of it,” said Richard Turner, President, IUMI. “Covid-19 is likely to accelerate digitalisation. The report’s industry experts agree that improving the use of new technology can lead to benefits such as increased efficiencies, improved risk management and enhanced environmental performance.”

The full report can be found here.

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