UNCTAD, or United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, recently published a report on the effects of the pandemic on various shipping markets. The report touches on the impact technology and resilience played on major hubs and connecting ports. The pandemic definitely speed up the need for technological advancements and more efficient processes, but small and developed economies showed no sign of improvement. Cybersecurity issues, inadequate infrastructure, and congestion, as mentioned on Seatrade Maritime News, where some deficiencies found on these sectors. It was also depicted on the report that the need for data collaboration, and various players’ connectivity and cooperation is more present today than ever before. Service vendors, suppliers, and their buyers had an already present deficiency of coordination, and the pandemic only managed to improve so much. These hubs and connecting ports that have no substantial government or private funding for technological projects have faced a toll on their economies. Additionally, the time and cost of training and enforcing better working conditions and capabilities for the sector have been difficult without national support.
UNCTAD also published a report specific to Panama, a country that accounts 35% of its GDP to the maritime sector. Although the Panama Canal maintained growth and continuity on their operations, the pandemic caused a major impact on growth for auxiliary services such as ship repairs, ship chandlery, and crew exchange. However, there were some legal actions taken during 2020 and 2021, leading to more activities near the waters of the Panama Canal. A new law of near shoring passed in 2021, allowing for more business in the sector. Thankfully, it did regulate which companies were able to do near shoring in Panama, allowing only those who have at least a 75% ownership by Panamanian nationals.
It has been beneficial for the country that the Maritime Authority has focused efforts on having more regulative control over service providers. Licenses of operations have been cancelled to ensure a more competitive market with the most reputable service providers.
Read more on UNCTAD’s PANAMA Maritime Review 2021/2022 here
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