2021 review: The Year of the Green Dot

It’s been the year of the green dot for me covering shipping in 2021. Scanning MarineTraffic (other vessel tracking service providers are available) for tales of congestion has become a daily ritual. Said Covid-linked ship queues propelled container shipping to record earnings, while also snaring many thousands of crew in an ongoing work purgatory. LNG shipping also enjoyed new highs in 2021, while dry bulk was able to cash in on its best year since the global financial crisis.

The massed green dots on my screen and out to sea in southern California also highlighted just how frail and no longer fit for purpose American logistics infrastructure has become. The yawning gap in productivity between the American quayside and across the Pacific in Asia is something that will require hundreds of millions of dollars to remedy.

In 21 years of covering this industry, 2021 was the first year where friends and family finally ‘got’ shipping. Starting with the Ever Given, then rapidly following up with plenty of headlines about bare shop shelves, suddenly the world was awash with shipping experts. Shipping was in the spotlight, a place historically it has gone to great lengths to avoid. The ramifications for this new found interest in our industry are going to be greater scrutiny and oversight, something we’ll be covering closely next year.

For Splash, we’ve welcomed new writers and readers this year – our mission going into 2022 is the same as when this title was founded – to provide an impartial, expert snapshot of global shipping. For an irreverent view of the industry look no further than resident cartoonist, The Freaky Wave below. Wishing all our readers a happy 2022.

The next issue of Daily Splash, our free newsletter, will be published on January 4.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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