The maritime industry must improve its forecasting to prepare for a range of possible futures, classification society Lloyd’s Register and Lloyd’s Register Foundation said at the publication of a new report yesterday.

Lloyd’s Register and Lloyd’s Register Foundation have called on shipowners and other supply chain stakeholders to increase their ability to deal with significant changes and possible future scenarios – developed, in a new report presented at London International Shipping Week.

Large scale changes identified in report include key ports becoming unusable due to climate change, a surge in the percentage of women in the workforce, and African nations becoming the world’s main suppliers of seafarers.

The report, “Global Maritime Trends 2050”, authored by Economist Impact, is part of a new joint multi-year Global Maritime Trends programme between Lloyd’s Register and Lloyd’s Register Foundation.

Some significant changes identified in the LR report include:

Some of the world’s largest ports becoming unusable due to sea level rises

· The IPCC estimates that sea levels are expected to rise by 0.29m to 0.51m by 2100 in a business-as- usual scenario.

· The report shows that a 40cm rise by 2050 could possibly render the ports of Houston (US) Shanghai (China) and Lázaro Cárdenas (Mexico) unusable.

African nations becoming dominant sources of labour supply to the industry

· The IMF has forecasted that Africa will have the world’s youngest median age by 2050, at just 25.

· As other regions face increasingly ageing populations, Africa will buck the trend. For industries like shipping, this means that new recruits may increasingly come from African countries, potentially supplanting traditional strongholds in Asia.

Women making up 25% of seafaring workforce by 2050 due to technological advancements

· In 2021, women accounted for less than 2% of the global seafaring workforce, according to the latest BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report.

· But a technology-driven energy transition could see this rapidly increase by mid-century.

· By 2050, the need for more tech-savvy ship managers could enable more women to take on managing positions on land and at sea, as increasingly autonomous ships and systems call for oversight and monitoring rather than intensive manual labour.

The report analysed likely future scenarios for shipping in 2050, based on the speed of technology adoption and the level of global collaboration, to help the industry forecast risks, opportunities, and required investment.

Nick Brown, CEO of Lloyd’s Register, said “Other industries are much better at forecasting. The financial sector, for example, has a deep understanding of potential future scenarios and how to prepare for them, but shipping lags behind.”

Video credit: Lloyd´s Register