Future Trends in the Shipping Industry

What are the trends to expect in the shipping industry this 2023?

  1. Markets turning to normalcy
  2. Infusion of new capacity
  3. Recovery from Covid-19
  4. Digitalization
  5. Data transparency

The shipping industry is constantly evolving. It is driven by technological advancements, changing customer demands, and global economic shifts. While the future is inherently uncertain, several noteworthy developments are likely to impact the shipping industry this year.

Therefore, it is crucial to understand the future trends in the shipping industry that will shape its landscape. Examining these trends can provide valuable insights for business owners to navigate the evolving industry and make informed decisions for their businesses.

Markets Turning to Normalcy

In 2023, the shipping market is transitioning towards a state of normalcy, driven by several factors. First, there has been a significant decline in ocean freight rates for two years due to the pandemic.

Another contributing factor is the reduced demand in US and European countries, leading to fewer sailings. However, this decline in demand has alleviated congestion, vessel backlogs, and equipment shortages, resulting in improved operational efficiency across the shipping industry.

As global congestion diminishes, more vessels and capacity have become available. This increased capacity enables faster and more efficient cargo movement.

Therefore, shippers can expect relatively competitive rates and readily available capacity, which in turn enhances the smoothness and predictability of cargo shipping compared to the challenges faced in previous years.

Infusion of New Capacity

Infusion of New Capacity

In the second quarter of 2023, from April to June, the industry is expected to experience a surplus in capacity as carriers begin receiving the new vessels they have ordered. This is caused by a shortage in vessels during the pandemic.

The orders for new vessels represent around 30% of the existing fleet, signifying a substantial expansion in overall capacity. When coupled with diminished demand, this will disrupt the balance between supply and demand, leading to a decrease in freight rates.

In addition to this, carriers are planning to retire some older vessels, and they may employ tactics such as blanking scheduled sailings and implementing slow steaming to moderate capacity. However, despite these measures, the net addition of capacity is expected to surpass the projected demand.

This situation presents an advantage for shippers as carriers are likely to lower freight rates to attract business in a sluggish market.

Recovery from Covid-19

China's initial response to the pandemic was characterized by a swift recovery compared to other nations, thanks to their implementation of stringent Covid control measures. These measures included imposing strict lockdowns and mobility restrictions.

However, a few months ago, China reversed its Zero COVID tolerance policy due to public pressure and the economic repercussions. Unfortunately, this shift in approach led to unintended consequences, resulting in a significant increase in COVID cases that spread across the country.

But, based on insights from a Chinese expert, the shipping market in 2023 is anticipated to exhibit improvements in comparison to the latter part of 2022. The recovery from the pandemic is expected to occur in the third quarter of this year, aligning with the usual seasonal increase in exports leading up to the Christmas season.



2023 presents a favorable opportunity for shipping companies to capitalize on the abundance of data generated by their vessels. The industry has gradually realized the benefits that digitalization can offer. Digitalization involves the integration of various data sources, including onboard sensors, noon reports, and external data, with data analytics platforms.

Additionally, it encompasses enhanced vessel performance, cost reduction in operations, elevated safety standards, streamlined compliance with regulations, and decreased fuel consumption.

This transition was embraced by larger shipping companies. However, the advent of cloud-native platforms has expanded accessibility to a broader range of companies. These platforms effectively lower the expenses associated with data collection and processing, which enables more companies to embark on their digitalization journey and reap the rewards for using it.

Data Transparency

Finally, the shipping industry heavily relies on vessel owners and charterers making deals. However, this creates challenges, such as uneven access to data between two parties, which hinder transparency.

As a result, vessel owners face the task of determining appropriate freight rates when pricing a voyage. They often rely on intuition rather than comprehensive data. This reliance on a subjective judgment can lead to mistrust among charterers.

Luckily, the integration of data plays a crucial role in assisting vessel owners in accurately pricing voyages. By leveraging relevant information through data sharing, owners can avoid setting excessively high rates, which may discourage potential customers from relying on the industry.

Key Takeaway

These trends in the shipping industry are causing significant changes this year. Therefore, it’s best to embrace these trends so that shipping companies can overcome any challenges the future holds, enhance their operations, and meet the evolving demands of their customers.

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