This incisive commentary, originally published in the Financial Times, provides an exceptionally clear and lucid picture of some of the greatest megatrends sweeping the world. Many of these trends, such as 3D printing and the possible structural contraction in the shipping industry it could cause, the vertical integration of the manufacturing industry in countries like China, the New Silk Road initiative (also in China) and the massive boom in cross-border data traffic present profound threats as well as thrilling opportunities to Singapore.
Put another way, this article provides a cutting-edge look at some of the hottest topics in General Paper: globalisation, technology, economics and the breathtaking pace of change in today’s world.
March 6, 2016
The fall in global trade to its lowest level since 2009 is fuelling a debate over whether the slowdown is cyclical or a sign of a permanent shift in the fundamentals that have driven globalisation for decades.
The Port of Charleston spent most of the early 2000s enjoying double-digit growth as a rising wave of globalisation – fuelled by a rising China and a consumer boom in the United States – brought robust volumes of cargo into the seaport.
Those days are long gone. South Carolina Ports Authority chief Jim Newsome says he would be happy with 3 per cent growth this year – a goal he concedes could be too ambitious. In January, container traffic at the port fell 5.1 per cent from levels posted in the previous year, and the strong greenback is causing problems for US exporters.
“Most of the exporters I talk to are just not doing the same business they were a year ago,” he says.
The story is repeated and amplified far beyond Charleston. Last year saw the largest collapse in the value of goods traded around the world since 2009 – when the impact of the global financial crisis was at its worst. Moreover, major ports such as Hamburg and Singapore have reported slowing growth and even declining volumes.
Read more here.
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