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The latest UN Review of Maritime Transport notes that seaborne trade grew by 2.6% in 2016, up from 1.8% growth the previous year. But supply is still outpacing demand, with the industry expanding its carrying capacity by 3.2% last year. We explore the challenges of balancing supply and demand in the shipping industry.

We find out more about a project to use a schooner, powered by wind and vegetable oil, to carry cargo on the Hudson River, take a look at the conclusion of an investigation into the August 2016 grounding of a container ship on approach to Southampton Port, and profile a new carbon calculator to centralise emissions data for the Panama Canal.

Finally, we take a broad look at the use of drones in the maritime industry, and find out more about workers’ rights in Papua New Guinea, following a government decision to award port operations to a company notorious for poor working conditions.

In this issue

Blast from the past: resurrecting sail freight shipping
The Schooner Apollonia is a carbon-neutral project to transport local goods along the Hudson River in a sailboat. Heidi Vella finds out more about the project, which is one of several looking to kickstart sail freight shipping, from co-founder Jason Marlow.
Read the article here.

Vasco de Gama: an analysis of a grounding
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has concluded its enquiry into the grounding of container ship CMA CGM Vasco de Gama in 2016. The report’s findings should be upheld as a cautionary tale of the dangers of poor planning and overconfidence, as Ross Davies finds out.
Read the article here.

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Overboard: balancing supply and demand in global maritime trade
While seaborne trade may have risen, an oversupply of vessels continues to hurt operators’ earnings. Such a stark gap between supply and demand must not grow any wider if the industry is to remain competitive, as Ross Davies reports.
Read the article here.

Panama: the environmental legacy of the world’s key canal
The Panama Canal recently unveiled a new carbon calculator to centralise emissions data and incentivise the industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Patrick Kingsland finds out more from Alexis Rodriguez, environmental specialist at the Panama Canal Authority.
Read the article here.

Drones in the deep: new applications for maritime UAVs
In September 2017, online portal Drone Major Group was launched to support the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. In light of the launch, Heidi Vella explores new drone technologies and projects for the maritime sector.
Read the article here.

Papua’s ports: will international condemnation mark a turning point?
In October, the Government of Papua New Guinea became a target of global protest after its decision to award port operations to a company notorious for its poor record on safety and labour rights. Patrick Kingsland explores the context of the dispute.
Read the article here.

Next issue preview

Ballast water regulations (and their idiosyncrasies) made headlines in 2017, as companies raced to fit the latest technologies. To find out what works, and what still needs more work, we profile the technologies to look out for in 2018.

We learn how monitoring our oceans has improved over the decades, consider the extent to which speeding up or slowing down vessels can protect marine life, lower transport fuel costs and provide a boost to jobs, and find out how some landlocked countries have developed thriving maritime economies.

Finally, we take a closer look at the Nairobi Convention to understand what is being done to protect the seas from dangerous shipwrecks, and explore the main challenges still facing the fishing sector following the introduction of new legislation to improve conditions for workers.