Shipping Industry Losses Down in 2023

Allianz report shows decreasing trend over past decade

May 24, 2024 Photo

The shipping industry experienced 26 total losses of vessels in 2023, down from 41 the year before, according to the Allianz Commercial 2024 Safety and Shipping Review, an annual review of trends and developments in shipping losses and safety.

“The shipping industry has made significant improvements when it comes to maritime safety in recent years,” states the report. “During the 1990s, the global fleet was losing 200+ vessels a year. This total had halved by 10 years ago and is now down to a record low of 26 as of the end of 2023.”

2023 in Focus

Furthermore, this year’s review states that “annual shipping losses have declined by 70% over the past decade. South China, Indochina, and the Philippines is the main loss hotspot globally, both over the past year and decade, accounting for almost a third of all losses at sea in 2023.”

Cargo ships accounted for over 60% of vessels reported lost in 2023, with half of them having been foundered (sunk). Fishing boasts ranked second overall with four total losses, followed by tugboats with three total losses.

“The number of reported shipping casualties or incidents also declined during 2023 (2,951 compared to 3,036), albeit only by 3%,” according to the report. “The British Isles region saw the highest number of reported incidents (695). Machinery damage/failure accounted for over half of all incidents globally (1,587). There were over 200 reported fire incidents during 2023 alone (205)—the second highest total for a decade, behind 2022, making this the fourth top cause of incidents.”

2014-2023 Review

“The past 10 years have seen 729 reported total losses, with the 2023 loss year…representing a significant improvement on the annual loss average over this period (73),” the report says. “This is even more impressive given the fact that there are over 100,000 ships in the global fleet (100GT+) compared with around 80,000 ships 30 years ago. The South China region is the global loss hot spot and it is likely to remain so with growing economic development and simmering geopolitical risks. A huge volume of imports and exports flow through the region, resulting in high levels of shipping traffic on the region’s sea lanes and in ports, which is reflected in the number of incidents. Together, the top three maritime regions account for almost 50% of loss activity over the past decade.”

About The Authors
Angela Sabarese

Angela Sabarese, Associate Editor of CLM.

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