Challenges for Maritime Law

“Puertos y más”, a magazine specialised in transport and logistics, publishes today an article on the challenges the maritime sector is facing in these difficult times by our colleagues Verónica Meana and Irantzu Sedano.

The year 2020 and its special circumstances had a profound impact on the maritime sector. The covid pandemic has altered the way we operate, hindering the supply of goods and limiting the mobility of people. This has led to the maritime transport of goods being declared an essential activity in Spain. Moreover, the year ended with the culmination of Brexit, which meant no less than additional challenges.

Maritime law is obliged to adjust to the new times and the circumstances arising from this new reality, which is why, in 2021, there are many challenges that the sector in Spain is facing. These include, for example, the development of intermodality, guaranteeing thus connectivity with air and land means of transport, and above all, the rail transport.

Thanks to these connections, delivery times will be speeded up, which will ensure the supply of essential goods. Improving work safety is another challenge to be met that will require bettering the employment situation of seafarers, which has been seriously jeopardised by the pandemic, including labour conflicts due to excessive embarkation periods; fatigue syndromes; uncertainty about their embarkation or disembarkation dates and reliefs; and the need to ensure the repatriation of workers.

We cannot also forget the need to guarantee environmental sustainability of maritime services. Maritime transport is still considered a highly polluting mode of transport (due to the high volume of goods transported by sea and the consequent abundance of maritime traffic). A major effort has already been made to enforce the use of low sulphur fuels, but the maritime industry wants to and must continue to evolve. Some of the challenges that arise in this respect are: researching maritime propulsion systems powered by renewable energies; developing the shipping industry to make new constructions less polluting; and adapting existing ships to new, more environmentally friendly fuels.

Finally, it is necessary to continue to make progress in the digitalisation of administrative and bureaucratic processes, as well as in the automation of port-logistic operations and to adapt legislation to the autonomous vessels that are already a reality. After the complex 2020, this year will bring changes to some of the regulations that affect the sector, such as the State Ports and Merchant Marine Act and the Maritime Navigation Act, as part of the constant adaptation and modernisation required by the maritime world at international, European and national level, as well as by the agents that form part of it, as is the case of our firm, to meet the future challenges the sector is facing.

Read article published HERE