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  • Up to 364,000 seafarer shortfall by 2050, says Tokyo think tank

    Up to 364,000 seafarer shortfall by 2050, says Tokyo think tank

    The gloomiest forecast yet of the widening scarcity in skilled and trained seafarers has been delivered by the highly respected Tokyo-based think tank Ocean Policy Research Foundation which claims that a boom in global seaborne trade over the next 40 years will result in a shortfall of 364,000 seafarers by 2050. Predicting that world seaborne trade will increase by a factor of 2.5 from 29,043 billion ton-miles in 2005 to 72,498 billion ton-miles in 2050, the OPRF says 830,000 seafarers will be required in 2050 “as a result of the increased number of vessels.

    If we assume that the supply of seafarers will remain the same as at present, the total will be 364,000 short of the required number,” it claims. By 2050, the OPRF says that container shipments will show a particularly sharp rise during the period of just under six times that of 2005 levels to register 2,894bn teu-miles by 2050.

    Predictions regarding intra-regional transportation show that shipments within Asia will increase by a factor of 10.7 from 18bn teu-miles in 2005 to 194bn teu-miles in 2050. “However, these increases in global and regional seaborne trade are expected to cause heavy maritime traffic congestion and a shortage of skilled seafarers. Accordingly, there may be a corresponding increase in the number of accidents, posting severe risks in terms of safety and the environment,” it says.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by pakarang View Post
    “However, these increases in global and regional seaborne trade are expected to cause heavy maritime traffic... congestion
    I can certainly see congestion becoming a very big problem if the predicted increase in sea traffic is correct. Many many more ports will have to be built, at the moment it's not uncommon for tankers and container ships having to wait several days for a berth. Without more ports being built the waiting time in the future could get to silly proportions. Also, dedicated anchoring positions would have to be increased to accommodate all of the queued vessels. It's already like a minefield around the Solent and the Isle of Wight with dozens of vessels waiting to get a berth. Oh well, it will be good for us ship spotters!
    Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by pakarang View Post
      Up to 364,000 seafarer shortfall by 2050, says Tokyo think tank

      Predicting that world seaborne trade will increase by a factor of 2.5 from 29,043 billion ton-miles in 2005 to 72,498 billion ton-miles in 2050, the OPRF says 830,000 seafarers will be required in 2050 “as a result of the increased number of vessels.

      By 2050, the OPRF says that container shipments will show a particularly sharp rise during the period of just under six times that of 2005 levels to register 2,894bn teu-miles by 2050.
      In their reasoning, seaborne trade grows by a factor of 2.5, but there is not enough seafarers to man the ships to carry all that trade. How can growth then come about?

      There appears to be a flaw in the reasoning here,. More tonnes/miles or TUE/miles doesn't necessarily equates number of seafarers required.
      More cargo will be carried on larger vessels on the various routes as and when market demand and port development allows.

      I don't foresee the return of the idea of 1 mill. DWT ULCCs, but larger average size ships in the various fleets. (Tankers, Bulkers, MPPs, Container ships etc.)

      We already have Container ships able to carry 14,000 TEUs for the long haul routes between main ports:



      As demand for container shipping increases in the outlaying ports, the Feeders will grow in size as well, although there will still be need for small ships for places without proper port facilities.

      If we assume that the supply of seafarers will remain the same as at present, the total will be 364,000 short of the required number,” it claims.
      As for the assumption that the number of seafarers will remain the same, I don't see the logic. Yes, from the "western" countries that is already true. We see a fast drop of skilled seafarers, and has done so for several years.
      The seafarers of the future will come from countries like China, India and Indonesia, as well as the present major supplier, Philippines, although the last is more or less saturated.

      With a combined population of more than 2.5 Bln. and growing, I don't see why it should be difficult to recruit and train 364,000 persons to become seafarers, even if we assume that that figure has some merits.

      The shift is already happening. More Officers and Crews, and more shore based maritime staff is recruited from these countries today.

      Conclusion; bigger and more efficient ships will carry more cargo with less crew per vessel and be manned by people from the so called "third world", not by "Westerners".

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      • #4
        I have to agree with you Ombugge, we only have to look at the change over the last 30 years or so that's happened to the size of ships and the number of crew needed to run them. I have no idea on actual figures, but i bet the older much smaller ships of even 25 years ago had at least 3 times the amount of crew compared to a large modern container ship or VLCC.

        The biggest problem i can see is one of painting, if ships get larger and crews get smaller or stay the same, they are going to be spending 23 hours a day painting!
        Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

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