Maritime transport is often the go-to mode of transportation for construction contractors, mainly due to the bulkiness of construction materials such as steel and concrete. However, over the last few years, changing global environmental regulations have led to changes in the maritime transportation sector. Notably, the changes will have both a direct and an indirect impact on the construction industry. This article looks at the critical trends in maritime transport that are currently affecting the construction industry.
Protectionism -- Over the last couple of years, there has been growing uncertainty about geopolitical and economic policies. The policy frameworks have resulted from protectionist tendencies that have led to increased structural shifts. The protectionist orientations have affected global economic growth, thereby restricting the flow of construction materials as well as creating a change in trade patterns. For instance, the United States of America proposed tariffs on steel and aluminium from China, Europe and Canada in 2018. While Australia was not affected by the tariffs, there is increased demand for Australian steel in the US. Since steel is best transported via maritime transport, it is likely that Australia will see a shift in the marine transportation of steel. Consequently, the demand for steel products in the Australian construction sector must compete with the increased exportation of steel through maritime transport.
Climate Change -- One of the most critical agendas in the international scene over the years is finding ways of improving environmental performance in marine transport. The International Maritime Organization adopted a strategy that promises to reduce greenhouse emissions from ships by 50% by the year 2050. It means that shipping companies have to take different approaches to reduce the levels of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. The strategies include the installation of scrubbers and use of liquefied natural gas. However, it is important to note that the initial cost of adopting these environmentally friendly strategies is relatively high for shipping companies. Therefore, it is easier for shipping firms to pass the cost to their clients, thereby increasing the likelihood that construction firms might have to pay more in shipping costs.
The Digitalisation of Marine Transport -- Technological advancement is rapidly catching up with maritime transport, and the construction industry is right in its cross-hairs. For example, virtual reality has become a significant tool for simulation purposes when dealing with massive cargo ships. The reason is that it is increasingly becoming difficult to adequately control some of the big cargo ships inside ports of entry. Therefore, shipping companies have to dock in high seas and off-load cargo onto small vessels for transportation back to the port. The process is not only time-consuming, but it is also costly. Virtual reality has made it possible for ship pilots to simulate difficult docking maneuvers and apply appropriate strategies in real-life settings. As a result, more ships are finding it easy to unload cargo directly at the ports, thereby eliminating unnecessary costs. It is good news for construction firms that import construction material such as structural steel and timber.
Contact a marine transport company to learn more.