The world’s most famous shipping analyst today predicts a big revival for short sea container shipping. Speaking in Brussels at a conference organised by the Federation of European Private Port Operators (FEPORT), Dr Martin Stopford, president of Clarkson Research, will tell delegates that a combination of technological, environmental and economic factors will likely lead to a renaissance in regional container shipping.
“The new challenge in containers is that after 50 years of containerisation, the industry should try to implement the door-to-door transport model,” Stopford will say later today in a speech seen by Splash, adding: “This was promised in 1967 but frustrated by lack of technology. This is long overdue, in the age of rapidly growing B2B trade, and the technology is now available.”
Although China is promoting the Belt and Road trade philosophy, Stopford feels it is more likely that, looking ahead, much of the trade development will be regional, notably within Asia and Europe.
“I would not be surprised if this was not associated with a renaissance in manufacturing industry as the Asian costs rise and the I4 revolution gains ground, reducing the cost differential which underpinned the rapid growth of East-West trade in recent decades,” Stopford predicts.
The Clarkson executive will use his speech to imagine a massive change to the main box tradelanes brought about by digitalisation.
“Surely inter-regional container conveyor belts supported by fast and flexible short sea distribution services would yield much better returns for the customer, the carriers and, most importantly, the environment,” Stopford will say, stressing that environmental pressure will see short sea shipping volumes grow.
“Wherever possible the sea transport system must be adapted to achieve the lowest door-to-door carbon footprint. I believe this is likely to encourage the use of short sea distribution systems,” the famous analyst is due to tell delegates later this morning.