CEBRI - Maritime Challenges: decarbonization and geopolitical tensions


Maritime Challenges: decarbonization and geopolitical tensions


Executive summary

1. The maritime sector is key to the global panorama. It accounts for almost ¾ of total freight transport activity related to international trade and it is the most energy efficient mode of transport. It is also an important lever to the energy sector, as it is responsible for 3% of the world’s total energy demand and 2% of global energy-related emissions.

2. Geopolitical tensions, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and decarbonization of shipping were highlighted as the most critical issues faced by the industry in 2019 and 2020, according to a report published by the Global Maritime Forum. This panorama indicates that the maritime sector is facing a period of unprecedent changes and challenges.

3. Increased geopolitical tensions have impacted both international trade and the global economy. Conflicts between China and the United States, as well as uncertainties surrounding Brexit influenced the trade panorama back in 2019. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic restricted trade and accelerated nationalist sentiments among different countries. In the coming years, structural changes are expected in the global economy and maritime scenario, including the promotion of more resilient supply chains.

4. Climate change is considered another critical challenge for the maritime trade. In the past years, due to the lack of adequate environmental policies and regulations, technological development was incipient, leading to increased CO2 emissions within the sector. However, the IMO’s more ambitious climate targets established in 2018 leveraged global action from countries and private companies, pushing the shipping industry towards its decarbonization.

5. The maritime industry in also key for the Brazil-Norway relationship. Norway is one of the leading countries of the maritime industry and aims to strengthen its position by promoting ambitious decarbonization targets and new technologies. On the other hand, Brazil has a yet unexplored potential in the maritime sector – as a source of energy (e.g. O&G and offshore wind), resources (e.g. Blue Amazon), and transport (e.g. cabotage and international insertion). Therefore, there is a clear opportunity to enhance this partnership based on Norwegian technological know-how and leadership and Brazilian maritime business opportunities.


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