by Przemysław Myszka
We're well into the third quarter of 2021, and the coronavirus is still keeping a firm grip on how we function. Vaccination programmes are more or less progressing but so are new variants of the pathogen. There are also news bits that those of us who have already got our jabs may as well ready ourselves for the booster shots. However, feeling once more fatigued for a couple of days is a small price to pay for avoiding getting acquainted with a ventilator. Speaking of COVID-19, we have, onboard this issue, TT Club explaining why distributing vaccines might convincingly be named the world's biggest logistics project (because, sadly, of the problems of theft and fraud, too). The insurer also examines other black swans and, luckily, how one can remain resilient in the face of unforeseen incidents. There's also a corona-read on trade liberalisation and how imposing/lifting restrictions on cross-border commerce can throttle/bolster national economies (depending on your political agenda, I guess). Another one gives an outlook for the European rail sector in the post-corona world.
One paradox of our condition is that change is the only constant. The port industry is part of this never-ending process of problem-solving. As such, it needs to re-invent itself from time to time. The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and Deloitte have recently painted a new 'portscape,' identifying the trends that will likely shape the industry's pathways to what can be called ports of the future. Please mind the plural, as sea- and inland ports come in different sizes and shapes. You might be a big port handling hundreds of millions of A-to-Z cargoes per year. Or, on the flip side, a small(er) one, mainly busy with your public role of serving domestic passenger traffic between islands and the mainland. You will, nonetheless, have to face common challenges of, among others, digitalising and greening your operations (and helping your clients do so as well). We have dissected the ESPO-Deloitte report for your convenience, putting the spotlight on its key takeaways.
Talking about digitalisation and care for the environment, we have, as always, prepared a few good reads on those topics. These include pieces on how collaboration and the human element will drive widespread digitalisation in ports & shipping; how class and industry can work together to decarbonise shipping; zero-emission fuels (with separate articles on hydrogen and biofuels); decarbonisation through digitalisation; and a stimulating look on how eco-developments in petrochemicals can impact the transport sector.
Inspired by the vocal movement of restoring cargo shipping with modern purpose-built sailing ships, we have decided to extend the Transport miscellany entry from the previous issue and devote the Heritage corner to how Göteborg III got a new life. As I write these words, the replica of the 1738-launched Göteborg I is undergoing sea trails before heading towards the Far East in spring next year. Fair winds and following seas!
Lastly, the Transport miscellany itself, very much concerned with art this time. Oh, and there is also this one peculiar record for all the pessimists reading us, namely, what containers can do for you if the hope of our times, Greta Thunberg, is proven wrong.
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