ECONOMIES OF SCALE IN THE MARITIME SECTOR, AT RISK?

The COVID-19 crisis will have its effects on the maritime industry and world trade. International organizations have negative forecasts on the impact on foreign trade and consumption that will affect, in the medium and long term, the strategies of large shipping companies with respect to routes, scales and also the size of container ships.

It is precisely the increase in the number of large mega ships that has made great strides in recent years. The record: the recent “HMM Algeciras” of 23,964 TEUs and with 399.9 meters in length that operates the route between North Asia and Europe. This phenomenon is known as economies of scale and refers to the fact that, increasingly, larger ships and large capacity loading and unloading equipment are taking over the maritime transport and covering the major cargo routes. A dynamic that is analyzed by all logistics operators, including Stock Logistic, to know the characteristics of the markets and what are the future perspectives on which they will carry out their operations.

However, from now on, these so-called economies of scale are also going to be conditioned by the situation of maritime transport of containers, the capacity of adaptation of ports and terminals, the inactive fleet or the environmental requirements of international organizations, which are increasingly rigorous. For example, the entry into force of IMO 2020 which began at the beginning of the year.

In addition to these factors, we cannot forget the current situation marked by the health and economic crisis. Some studies speak of the fact that the majority of shipping companies will end the year 2020 in the red and this is a situation that could extend to 2021 depending on the duration of the pandemic.

Concentration in the industry

Apart from the above issues, the maritime industry is also navigating towards another phenomenon: increasing concentration, which is growing among the main actors influencing the business. For example, large shipping companies are increasingly involved in the management of major port terminals – particularly in ports of general interest – and the internationalisation of operators is a growing phenomenon. Some experts predict that the historic shipping companies could become large global door-to-door operators by replacing the traditional port-to-port philosophy.

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