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Why the Global Shipping Industry Will Be Tough to Salvage

Mar 27, 2017 | 09:30 GMT
A loaded cargo ship heads out to sea from New York Harbor. Over the past decade, the world's available shipping capacity has grown faster than global trade has.
A loaded cargo ship heads out to sea from New York Harbor. Over the past decade, the world's available shipping capacity has grown faster than global trade has.
(SPENCER PLATT/Getty Images)

The political order that defines the world is changing, and with it, the global shipping industry. The advent of container shipping in the mid-1950s propelled the age of globalization forward as the world's biggest economies forged new and closer trade links with one another. International trade is now undergoing another massive overhaul as the rise of Western isolationism, the restructuring of China's economy, the weakening of European growth and the Fourth Industrial Revolution alter how goods and services flow between countries in the coming decades. But these fundamental shifts won't change the fact that the cheapest way to move things in large quantities is over water. As a result, the shipping industry will continue to limp along, struggling to stay afloat as countries with competing imperatives -- whether shipping, shipbuilding, shipbreaking or banking -- pull it in different directions over the next few years....

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