Beyond digital - trade wars, shipping outlook & infra investment

03 December 2018

Growth in world trade and, especially, port volumes is better than for some long time. But the global and regional impact of escalating tariffs and increased protectionist policies will remain high on the TOC agenda for 2019. “While the prospects for seaborne trade are positive, these are threatened by the outbreak of trade wars and increased inward-looking policies. Escalating protectionism and tit-for-tat tariff battles will potentially disrupt the global trading system which underpins demand for maritime transport,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development, launching its 2018 Annual Review of Maritime Transport this October. 

The continued fallout from shipping mergers and alliances, big ships and assorted initiatives to manage maritime economies of scale and boost revenues will also come under further scrutiny.  As of June 2018, the top 10 ocean carriers controlled almost 70% of the world’s liner shipping fleet and it's predicted that by 2021 the top 7 could control 75%.

 “There is a need to assess the implications of [shipping] mergers and alliances and of vertical integration within the industry, and to address any potential negative effects. This will require the commitment of all relevant parties, notably national competition authorities, container lines, shippers and ports,” added UNCTAD. 

Adapting to mega-ship deployment, big vessel cascading and shipping industry consolidation has been extremely challenging for port and terminal operators in recent years, with acute concerns raised over an uneven distribution of benefits whereby economies of scale in shipping creating diseconomies in ports and the onward
land transport chain.

Port and connecting landside infrastructure development is vital to trade and nations, but both private and public investments are acutely impacted by shipping industry developments. 

Container Supply Chain conference stream at TOCs in 2019 will bring together analysts and academics, regulators, government agencies and NGOs, cargo owners, port, transport and finance executives to share the latest market intelligence and discuss the impact of these macro trends in high-level debates including “TheBusiness, Trade & Container Outlook”, “The New Regulatory & Policy Landscape”, “The Container Shipping Outlook” and “The Trade Infrastructure Investment Forum”.

TOC Asia

9 – 10 April 2019

Marina Bay Sands Singapore


About TOC Worldwide 

For 40 years, TOC Worldwide has provided the market-leading conference and exhibition forums for the global port and terminal industries and their customers. With a change of name to TOC Container Supply Chain, the TOC event portfolio is now evolving fast to attract a wider audience of container supply chain professionals. Taking place each year in the world’s four key shipping hubs – Europe, Middle East, Americas and Asia – each TOC is now a complete container supply chain event for its region, bringing together cargo owners, logistics providers, carriers, ports, terminals and other key members of the container supply chain to learn, debate, network and foster new business solutions. 

Notes to editors:

For further information regarding this release, please contact:

Rachael White, Content Director, TOC Worldwide

Tel +44 (0) 20 8279 9403 | Email

To arrange press passes to attend TOC Asia, or to discuss a media partnership, please contact:

Suzanne Tiago, Group Marketing Manager, TOC Worldwide

Tel +44 (0)20 701 77023 | Email:

PR Contact:

Esther White, Next Level Information

Tel +44(0) 20 3237 7562 | Email: | I | |


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