Executive Briefings

U.S. May Remain Top Sea Power in 2030, But China to Dominate Merchant Shipping, Report Says

Over the next 17 years or so, global trade will more than double, China will come to own roughly a quarter of the world's merchant fleet, the number of offshore wind platforms will grow a hundredfold, and the U.S. will still be the dominant naval power. So go the predictions in Global Marine Trends 2030, a collaborative effort by ship classification society Lloyd's Register, UK defense contractor QinetiQ, and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.

Two years in the making, the report also predicts, not surprisingly, that China, will edge past the U.S. in GDP sometime in the 2020s, and its gargantuan appetite for commodities of all kinds will drive world trade and spur increased production of huge container ships.

In addition, global GDP will grow more than two and a half times with the biggest increase coming in - India. Yes, the subcontinent will pass China in both population and rate of growth and become the world's third-largest economy by 2030, behind China and the U.S. Filling out the top five will be Japan and Brazil.

On the energy front, coal is predicted to remain the dominant generator of electricity, largely because of India and China, with consumption more than doubling over the next 20 years. Natural gas usage will double, fueled by fracking and LNG, and the U.S. will become the world's largest producer (and consumer). Oil consumption will grow by roughly half. While much is made of wind power and other "clean" energies, their impact will remain muted - with the exception of Western Europe, where wind (both onshore and offshore) will become a major power source.

Other predictions: Container ship tonnage grows the fastest among the major vessel categories, increasing two-and-a-half times as the world's expanding middle class demands more and more of the world's goods. Bulker tonnage more than doubles in response to imports of coal, iron ore and grains in emerging economies, and so does LNG tonnage with Australia, Qatar and Nigeria the leading exporters and Japan, Europe, India and China the main importers. Tanker tonnage grows the slowest as the world gradually shifts away from oil as the dominant transportation fuel.

China, according to the report, increases its lead over rivals South Korea (#2) and Japan (#3) with emerging nations like Vietnam, India, Brazil and the Philippines gaining fast. The market for sophisticated vessels like LNG carriers, however, continues to be dominated by South Korea and Japan.

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Two years in the making, the report also predicts, not surprisingly, that China, will edge past the U.S. in GDP sometime in the 2020s, and its gargantuan appetite for commodities of all kinds will drive world trade and spur increased production of huge container ships.

In addition, global GDP will grow more than two and a half times with the biggest increase coming in - India. Yes, the subcontinent will pass China in both population and rate of growth and become the world's third-largest economy by 2030, behind China and the U.S. Filling out the top five will be Japan and Brazil.

On the energy front, coal is predicted to remain the dominant generator of electricity, largely because of India and China, with consumption more than doubling over the next 20 years. Natural gas usage will double, fueled by fracking and LNG, and the U.S. will become the world's largest producer (and consumer). Oil consumption will grow by roughly half. While much is made of wind power and other "clean" energies, their impact will remain muted - with the exception of Western Europe, where wind (both onshore and offshore) will become a major power source.

Other predictions: Container ship tonnage grows the fastest among the major vessel categories, increasing two-and-a-half times as the world's expanding middle class demands more and more of the world's goods. Bulker tonnage more than doubles in response to imports of coal, iron ore and grains in emerging economies, and so does LNG tonnage with Australia, Qatar and Nigeria the leading exporters and Japan, Europe, India and China the main importers. Tanker tonnage grows the slowest as the world gradually shifts away from oil as the dominant transportation fuel.

China, according to the report, increases its lead over rivals South Korea (#2) and Japan (#3) with emerging nations like Vietnam, India, Brazil and the Philippines gaining fast. The market for sophisticated vessels like LNG carriers, however, continues to be dominated by South Korea and Japan.

Read Full Article