Blue economy
Discover Global Markets
Discover Global Markets is the Department of Commerce's flagship event series for U.S. exporters. Stay tuned for information about the next Discover Global Markets business networking forum, coming in Fall 2023.

Discover Global Markets Resources

Discover Global Markets Resources

On this page you can find information on Discover Global Markets industry opportunities, market best prospect, and additional exporter and attendee resources. 

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Market Overviews

Our in-country, market experts have outlined their market landscapes including identifying trends, opportunities, best prospects and barriers to entry. 

Market Overview

  • Australia is the same size as the continental United States however has a warmer climate and 90% of the population live within 50 miles of the ocean.​
  • Australia is a significant economy by world standards. Although Australia is home to just 0.3% of the world’s population, it accounts for 1.6% of the global economy.​
  • The Australian Blue Economy has more than doubled in the past 10 years and growth is projected to continue.​
  • American companies benefit from a similar business culture and common language in the Australian market.​
  •  Promotional materials are easily transferrable and American-made products are highly regarded.

Market Entry

  • Working with a local agent, distributor or representative is recommended for this market.​
  • Commercial Service Australia is a conduit to the market and can offer all manner of export assistance and resources. We welcome informal discussions to commence the process. ​
  • Attending trade shows in the region is an excellent opportunity to network with local distributors and partners. 

Market Trends

  • The recreational marine sector is strong in this region. Australia has the 2nd largest U.S. market for recreational marine outside of North America.​
  • Demand exceeds supply for marine vessels. ​
  • The government is prioritizing research and investment in marine renewable projects, particularly offshore wind power development.​
  • Australia has shown to possess a resilient economy in the face of COVID-19 and the overall trends in the marine industry are very healthy.

Competition/Barriers to Entry

  • Australia is geographically distant from the United States therefore freight and shipping costs may be higher than in other markets. ​
  • The Australian market is highly regulated with a rigid enforcement of standards. ​

Best Prospects

  • Recreational marine products & services.​
  • Marine renewable technologies.​
  • Port digitization & green port technologies.

​Specific Opportunities/Projects of Note

  • Bass Strait Offshore wind power development project.

Market Overview

  • Europe has a large blue economy with an annual turnover of € 658 billion, with Belgium as a leader.​
  • Belgium currently ranks 6th in the world for installed offshore wind power capacity.​
  • Currently, Belgium has committed to 27% renewable energy by 2030, this represents an increase from 8% in 2020 and has government support.​
  • The Belgian Blue Economy has more than doubled in the past 10 years and growth is projected to continue.​
  • American companies benefit from a strong international community from the EU’s center and partners with strong English language skills.

Market Trends

  • Belgium is expected to double its offshore wind capacity to 5.7 GW by 2030, with the current Minister of Energy supporting plans to increase this target to 8 GW. These plans also include renovating old wind farms to replace turbines with more efficient ones.​
  • 37% of the Belgian North Sea is designated as protected areas, making Belgium a leader in marine conservation and restoration (Europe averages 8% of its marine space as protected area).​
  • The North Sea contains huge deposits of high-quality sand that will continue to play an important role as construction demands continue to rise. It also contains shallow seabed that can provide great opportunities for underwater carbon storage.​
  • A number of Belgian companies have specialized in dredging and maritime infrastructure works (DEME, Jan de Nul). They have often received international acclaim for these works, such as with the Palm Islands in Dubai.

Market Entry

  • Working with a local agent, distributor or representative is recommended for this market.​
  • Commercial Service Belgium is a conduit to the market and can offer all manner of export assistance and resources. We welcome informal discussions to commence the process. ​
  • Belgium has a very active group called The Blue Cluster, supported by Flanders Investment and Trade, which connects over 60 companies to the blue economy and helps facilitate innovation and collaboration. 

Best Prospects

  • Offshore wind projects.​
  • Marine conservation.​
  • Underwater carbon deposits.​
  • High-quality sand excavation.​
  • Dredging and maritime infrastructure works.

Competition/Barriers

  • Belgium is geographically distant from the United States therefore freight and shipping costs should be considered. ​
  • The Belgian market is highly regulated with a rigid enforcement of standards. 

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • WindEurope’s repowering of an existing offshore wind farm.​
  • A 3.5 GW expansion of offshore wind capacity in the ‘Princess Elisabeth’ zone.​
  • The Marine Spatial Plan (2020-2026) which outlines strong government and business support for conservation and marine preservation.

Market Overview

  • The United States and Canada enjoy the world’s largest and most comprehensive trading relationship that supports millions of jobs in each country and constitutes $1.6 trillion bilateral trade and investment.  
  • Canada has the 8th largest GDP by nominal and 15th largest GDP by PPP in the world and it is expected to grow stronger and more sustainable in the upcoming years.  
  • Canada’s coastline is the longest in the world, measuring in at approximately 151,000 miles, the 4th largest ocean territory and its rivers and lakes make up a fifth of the world’s surface water.  
  • The blue economy accounts for USD$24.5 billion annually in GDP and almost 300,000 Canadian jobs both directly and indirectly. 
  • The Government of Canada recognizes the blue economy’s importance to Canada and is engaging on developing a Blue Economy Strategy. 

Market Trends

  • Canada has made unprecedented investments in innovation, sustainability, and ocean protection.  This is evident through the development of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, an industry-led organization focusing on the industries operating in Canada’s oceans, including marine renewable energy, fishery, aquaculture, bioresources, offshore resources, defense, shipbuilding, transportation, and ocean technology. 
  • Canada’s main objective is to embrace a prosperous blue economy, while continuing to support the industries that have traditionally relied on the ocean and its resources.  

Market Entry

  • Visiting the country, establishing a strong local presence, and working with local agents is recommended. 
  • U.S Commercial Service in Canada is a good guide to the local market and can offer all manner of export assistance and resources.  
  • Attending trade shows in the region is an excellent opportunity to network with potential local distributors and partners. 

Best Prospects

  • Digital sensors and monitoring 
  • Autonomous marine vehicles 
  • Energy generation 
  • Automation 
  • Marine biotechnology 
  • Marine engineering technologies 

Competition/Barriers

  • Focus on the blue economy is new in Canada and therefore regulations and policies are still being updated to reflect the changes and advancements in this sector.   
  • The sector has difficulties attracting workers and investment, although this is slowly changing

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • Montreal Port Authority’s Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project 
  • Digital Offshore Canada Project 
  • Ocean Startup Project 
  • Coastal Incident Management System (CIMS) Project 

Market Overview

  • Following global COVID-19 pandemic era economic trends, bilateral U.S.-India trade in goods and services contracted from $145.9 billion in 2019 to $121.8 billion in 2020.  
  • India was the United States’ 12th largest trading partner with sales of goods worth $44.8 billion in 2020. The United States remained India’s largest trading partner, with exports of goods to the United States worth $77 billion.  
  • For years, the United States has had a persistent trade deficit with India ($23.8 billion in 2020).  U.S.-India trade made up lost ground in 2021, with a 49.4 percent increase in U.S. goods exports to India year-to-date in July, compared with a 28 percent contraction in the same period in 2020. 
  • India’s  maritime sector is significant in size with 12 Major and 200+ Non-Major Ports situated along 4660 miles coastline and a network of navigable waterways.  
  • The sector plays a crucial role in India’s overall trade and growth, 95 percent of the country’s trade volume and 65 percent of the trade value is undertaken through the maritime transport. 
  • To propel the sector, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways formulated Maritime India Vision 2030 (MIV 2030). India envisions an overall investment of $45 billion across ports, shipping, and inland waterways categories by 2030.  
  • The goal is towards improving port infrastructure, efficiency, services, capacity building, logistics, ship building and promote a safe and sustainable “green” maritime sector.   

Market Trends

  • Innovative, green, and future ready technology products and solutions will have a leading edge in the Indian maritime sector. 
  • The Internationally benchmarked Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standard adopted by many countries’ maritime sectors is driving the need in India to optimize and adhere to the standards. 
  • To align with these standards, eight areas have been identified to improve the safety and sustainability in India’s ports and maritime bodies.  1. Renewable Energy, 2. Air Quality Improvement, 3. Water Usage Optimization, 4. Improving Solid Waste Management, 5. Dredging Material Recycling, 6. Zero Accident Safety Program, 7. Occupational health management and 8. Centralized monitoring. 

Market Entry

  • Strategic planning, due diligence, consistent follow-up, patience, and commitment are prerequisites for doing business successfully in India.   
  • The Indian market necessitates multiple marketing efforts that address differing regional opportunities, standards, languages, cultural differences, and levels of economic development.  
  • Penetrating India’s markets requires careful analysis of consumer preferences, existing sales channels, and changes in distribution and marketing practices.   
  • India is a face-to-face society, and in-person meetings are typically required before formalization of work partnerships or agreements.  While the pandemic has led Indian companies to work more frequently with global partners in virtual environments, it remains to be seen whether this is a permanent shift in business practices.  

Best Prospects

  • Equipment and Solutions for Port Infrastructure development 
  • Ocean Technology 
  • Ship Building 
  • Navigation and Communication Equipment 
  • Gears/Equipment for Commercial and Sport Fishing 
  • Logistics and Supply chain solutions  
  • Feasibility Studies  

Competition/Barriers

  • High Tariffs  and Protectionist Policies 
  • Price Sensitivity 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Data Localization and E-Commerce Restrictions 
  • Local Content Requirement 
  • Power of States 

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • Tenders open for bidding: 
  • Published by National Institute of Ocean Technology 
  • Published by Inland Waterways Authority of India 
  • Published by Cochin Shipyard Limited 

 

 

Market Overview 

  • Singapore is a global hub port and international maritime center with more than 130,000 ships call at its ports annually. It is well-connected to 600 ports in over 120 countries. 
  • Singapore also offers a comprehensive range of both technical and commercial maritime services such as finance, broking, insurance, surveying, legal, and arbitration.    
  • Singapore is constantly developing its digital infrastructure and enhancing its sustainability capabilities as a key to its status as a thriving maritime hub. 
  • Tuas Mega Port is Singapore’s next-generation container terminal development with state-of-the-art operations in place. When completed in 2040, the Tuas Mega Port can handle up to 65 million TEUs. 
  • Singapore’s offshore and marine hub services worldwide demand for ship repair, shipbuilding, rig-building, and offshore engineering, as well as oilfield equipment manufacturing, and the building and chartering of offshore supply vessels. 
  • Singapore has built up expertise over the past two decades in the construction of offshore jack-up rigs and the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) conversion market. 

Market Trends

  • Major global disruption s currently being experienced in ports and all aspects of the supply chain ecosystem due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Maximization of AI-based technologies to increase productivity and improve labor-intensive operations for greater efficiency in the port environment. 
  • Green port technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies for conversion into useful substances such as chemicals useful for producing polymers, or for storage underground. 
  • As part of Singapore Green Plan 2030, the country is looking at energy transition, energy renewables, and energy decarbonization. Due to land scarcity, Singapore companies are looking to undertake floating solar farms and offshore wind projects in other countries since they are increasingly becoming a cost-competitive alternative to other renewable energy sources. 
  • Most offshore wind projects in Asia are currently in Northeast Asia with more than 50GW of installed capacity and Southeast Asian countries are just starting to plan for offshore wind projects. Singapore companies have worked on some of the offshore wind projects in Northeast Asia and are now looking at similar projects in the U.S. 
  • Conservation of Singapore’s urban greenery and biological diversity 
  • Reef rejuvenation projects for local coral population, conserving Singapore’s marine ecosystems, and promoting Singapore as a sustainable tourism destination.  
  • Coastal Protection is also something that Singapore is looking at due to climate change issues and Singapore being an island state. 
  • Harnessing Ocean renewable energy by converting kinetic energy in flowing water into electricity.  
  • Multi-level floating farm for fish and other agricultural production

Competition/Barriers

  • Singapore is an open market and U.S. firms can therefore expect strong global competition, particularly from Europe, China, Japan, and other Asian countries.  
  • Generally, the imports of goods that the government determines as posing a threat to health, security, safety, and social decency are controlled. 
  • The Strategic Trade Scheme (STS) is an enhanced permit regime that seeks to promote effective internal export control compliance and provide legitimate traders with greater facilitation in permit declarations involving transactions of strategic goods for non-WMD related end-users.

Best Prospects

  • Supply of robotic and automation solutions to improve Singapore’s Marine & Offshore Engineering (M&OE) capabilities. 
  • Offer smart M&OE engineering products and solutions to enhance Singapore’s digitalization effort. 
  • Green port technological equipment and solutions. 
  • Underwater and surface autonomous vehicle systems to improve connectivity between ships, ports, and marine infrastructure.  
  • Low-carbon emission solutions, as regional governments are pushing this with their growing commitment to promote solar and wind as renewable energy sources. 

 

Market Overview

  • Thailand is strategically located in the heart of ASEAN and the country has coastlines of 2,123 miles and waterways of 2,485 miles.  
  • Thailand aims to develop the ports into a regional hub to complement the leading shipping destination in SEA.  
  • The Thai government has significantly invested in expanding and improving the national infrastructure networks through Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP) amounted to $28 billion in the past two decades.   
  • Key port development projects include Map Ta Phut Industrial port (phase 3) with an estimated $1.78 billion and Laem Chabang port with an estimated $2.8 billion.  
  • Major deep seaports include Laem Chabang, Map Ta Phut, Ranong, Phuket, Koh Sichang Achorage.  

Market Trends

  • The global pandemic situation directly impacts the supply chain and ports worldwide.   
  • New technological solutions like port automation, big data, IoT, blockchain applications, and connected supply chains need less physical labor to improve port performance and economic competitiveness.   
  • Green port technologies such as greenhouse gas emissions, ship recycling, and other marine organisms are underway and required for future ports.  

Market Entry

  • Partnering with a local partner is the most effective way to enter the Thai market and reach potential buyers.   
  • Background checks on potential local partners are recommended.  
  • The Commercial Section provides a series of customized business development services to assist U.S. companies planning to enter or expand their presence in the market.  

Competition/Barriers

  • Markets for infrastructure projects are dominated by China, Japan, and other Asian countries.  
  • Market intelligence is not widely available, and obtaining detailed and verified information can be slow and challenging.  
  • The key to successful bidding on government projects is to have a local representative with good access to the procuring agency and knowledge of specific procurement requirements.  

Best Prospects

  • Smart port  
    • Smart port infrastructure  
    • Terminal automation 
    • Port community system 
    • Traffic management systems 
    • Smart safety & security  
  • Green port technological equipment and solutions  

Market Overview

  • The UAE is a maritime nation with over 800 miles of coastline along the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.​
  • The UAE is a top regional hub in the Middle East region, and over 1,500 U.S. companies operate in the UAE.​
  • The UAE is the top U.S. export market in the region with over $17 billion in U.S. exports to the UAE in 2021.​
  • The UAE ranked #16 for Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank in 2020.​
  • American products and solutions are highly regarded.

Market Trends

  • Security solutions continue to be important in this region.​
  • The UAE government has made a Net-Zero commitment and is hosting the COP28 climate conference in 2023. The UAE is prioritizing research and investment in renewable projects including offshore wind power development.​
  • The UAE has demonstrated resilience in the face of COVID-19, has a 100% vaccination rate, is open to travel, and is a regional travel hub.

Market Entry

  • Working with a local agent, distributor, or representative is recommended for this market.​
  • The Commercial Service UAE team helps U.S. companies to enter the market and can offer export assistance services and resources. Our team is happy to discuss your objectives and see how we may be able to help. ​
  • Attending trade shows in the region is an excellent opportunity to network with local distributors and potential partners. English is widely spoken in the UAE

Competition/Barriers

  • Foreign competition is tough – from Asian and European competitors. ​
  • Procurement tenders often lack transparency.

Best Prospects

  • Port solutions and equipment, digitization, & green port technologies.​
  • Marine renewable energy technologies.​
  • Marine and coastal security solutions.

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • Port projects include a new port for the $5 billion Al Ruweis petrochemical complex in Abu Dhabi.​
  • Port modernization projects.​

Market Overview

  • Turkey as a country is surrounded by three seas from three directions: Black Sea to the north, Aegean Sea to the west, and Mediterranean to the south.  Its location makes Turkey a major player as a transit, origin, and destination country with access to, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. ​
  • 90 percent of Turkey’s international trade (by volume) travels by sea. Turkey has 197 ports, including piers, jetties, dolphins, platforms, and terminals, which make the country an important access point along international maritime trade routes.​
  • Among the ports, 27 are large container ports, 13 of which are connected to rail. Most ports focus on cargo handling, general cargo, liquid cargo handling, bulk cargo and some also focus on Ro-Ro transport and cruise ships. 

Market Trends

  • The Turkish government plans to expand the country’s shipping capacity in the near term via large port construction projects: Izmir/Candarli Port on the Aegean is one example of a new port project breaking ground recently and that has growth potential.  Upon completion, the government plans to auction the ports via a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, used frequently in other large infrastructure projects. ​
  • Turkey’s ports are modernizing operations to reach higher levels of efficiency and competitiveness, including port superstructure, vessel tracking systems, oil spill detection and contingency preparedness, underwater mapping type of projects, and monitoring of truck queues into port terminal entrances to plan internal port traffic.  ​
  • Additionally, with the digital revolution increasing competition and growing demand, privatized Turkish ports have begun to evolve into the fourth generation of port development, smart ports. 

Market Entry

  • Working with a local agent, distributor or representative is recommended for this market.​
  • Commercial Service Turkey is a conduit to the market and can offer all manner of export assistance and resources. We welcome all inquiries. ​
  • Attending trade shows, meeting in person with the local companies in the region is an excellent opportunity to network with local distributors and partners. ​
  • Please see www.trade.gov/Turkey for more information.

Competition/Barriers

  • Global economic situation;​
  • Trade flows​
  • Domestic inflation 

Best Prospects

  • Port digitization, smart & green port technologies, including software technologies.​
  • Safety and security technologies, including surveillance systems, port entrance access control, and screening and scanning ​
  • Ship-to-shore cranes (SSC), rubber-tired cranes (RTC), rail-mounted cranes (RMC), reach stackers and terminal trucks
  • Ship traffic tracking technologies

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • Altinel Port expansion project​
  • Mersin Port expansion project

Market Overview

  • Italy is the world’s eighth largest economy with a GDP of $1.85 trillion in 2020 and a per capita GDP of $31,630. In 2020 Italy was the 16th largest market for U.S. exports, which totaled approximately $23.8 billion, and the fifth largest U.S. export market in the EU.​
  • Italy is a country of maritime vocation par excellence.  Given its strategic position within the Mediterranean basin and its 8,670 km of coastline, it is deeply linked to the sea. ​
  • Italy is the third largest blue economy in Europe.  ​
  • The blue economy plays a central role in the country’s economic performance.  Taking into account all parallel supply chain activities, the blue economy as a whole generated $145 billion last year representing 10% of Italian GDP.   It counts over 225,000 companies employing over 900,000 workers.  ​
  • The maritime transportation segment is the most important, followed by shipbuilding. Italy boasts a particularly strong  boat building industry, from pleasure boats to large vessels. 

Market Trends

  • Italy is one of the EU countries whose National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP)  includes sizable blue economy investments.  Italy will invest $3.1 US billion by 2026 to modernize port infrastructures.  Much of this spending is earmarked to increase port capacity and will require new port technologies and services. Other funding will be directed at making ports more ecologically sustainable or more efficient and secure through digitalization.  ​
  • Other maritime-related investments proposed in these plans include greening and innovating the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, monitoring marine and coastal biodiversity, restoration of river systems, wastewater treatment, flood protection, offshore energy parks, coastal tourism, investments in green shipping and blue skills support. 

Market Entry

  • Working with a local agent, distributor or representative is recommended for this market.​
  • Commercial Service Italy is a conduit to the market and can offer export assistance and resources. We welcome informal discussions to commence the process. ​
  • Attending trade shows in the region is an excellent opportunity to network with local distributors and partners. 

Competition/Barriers

  • Italy is a mature and sophisticated manufacturing market. U.S. entrants face strong competition from local and other EU companies in all market segments.​
  • Italy’s regulatory environment is complex and at times lacks the transparency found in other developed economies.

Best Prospects

  • Recreational marine products & services​
  • Marine renewable technologies​
  • Port digitization & green port technologies

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • Port of Venice: new cruise ship offshore terminal ​
  • Civitavecchia (Rome) Port: breakwater restructuring and renewable energy projects​
  • Port of Genoa waterfront redevelopment, breakwater and shipyard expansion projects, intermodal logistics expansion.

Market Overview

  • Mexico’s $1.3 trillion economy is the second largest in Latin America (15th largest in the world) and the country maintains deep trade and investment ties with the United States.  ​
  • Two-way trade in goods and services between the United States and Mexico totaled USD 700 billion in 2021, positioning Mexico as the second-largest U.S. trading partner in goods.​
  • Mexico is the 1st or 2nd largest export destination for 25 U.S. states (2021).​
  • Mexico has more than 230,000 km2 of territorial seas. Due to its geographic position and economic activity, the country has a maritime vocation. 

Market Trends

  • To bolster Mexico’s ports services, the government is keen to increase the unification and automation of supply chains with technological innovations.​
  • There is also interest to incorporate technologies that reduce energy consumption in the port infrastructure.

Market Entry

  • Working with a local agent, representative or authorized distributor is recommended for this market.​
  • Exporters also need to consider promotional plans. Trade shows, advertising, social media campaigns, and sales calls all work well in Mexico​
  • U.S. firms should use Spanish-language materials and communicate in Spanish whenever possible while doing business in Mexico.

Competition/Barriers

  • In July 2021, the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) took over the management of Mexican federal ports.  While operations of numerous terminals are still concessioned to private companies, top coordination is still left to the Navy, whose procurement processes are sometimes more difficult to navigate. ​
  • Mexican buyers are generally price sensitive, and government buyers have strict rules for favoring lowest price offers, so establishing an effective pricing structure is key. 

Best Prospects

  • Port digitalization​
  • Green port technologies

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • The Intelligent and Safe Port System (Puerto Inteligente y Seguro) developed by the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) to enhance security in the Mexican port system through the digitalization and systematization of ports’ operating and administrative processes.  

Market Overview

  • Japan has the third largest economy in the world and Japanese entities are key members of the international trade system. Japanese government respects the rule of law and provides protections for intellectual property and human rights.  
  • Japan is the world 6th ranked maritime nation in size of territorial waters and exclusive economic zone of approximately 4.47 million square kilometers (about 12 times the land area) and a coastline of approximately 36,000 kilometers. 
  • Japan’s Blue Economy market will expand to US$ 207 billion (JPY 28 trillion) in 2030 according to Deloitte Tohmatsu market estimates. 
  • Carbon neutrality, digital transformation technology, and autonomous vehicles are changing the Japanese maritime industry. These trends will create business opportunities for U.S. businesses with cutting-edge and problem-solving technologies.  
  • Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) is conducting pilot projects to examine autonomous vehicles in various applications. These include the development of automated vessels with manipulation from land and actions using artificial intelligence. Additionally, projects to develop zero emission vessels and fuels with specific plans on achieving targets are underway. Japanese government-led initiatives will incubate new marine-tech businesses and further business collaboration between U.S. and Japanese marine-tech companies.

Market Trends

  • Social structural drives: Depopulation and aging, especially on remote islands, is changing the requirements for smart aquaculture and fisheries.  Aging infrastructure for rivers and ports need inspection and maintenance. Cost effective and labor-saving solutions in maritime sector are in high demand. 
  •  “Carbon Neutral by 2050”: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) drafted a “Green Growth Strategy” in June 2021.  Under this strategy, METI included “Maritime” as a priority.  To cope with the International Maritime Organization strategy to implementing energy efficiency (EEDI, EEXI and CII), vessel fuel conversion and optimization of vessels operation will be accelerated.   
  • Marine Robotics’ demand on increase: “Next generation mobility” The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) is promoting the introduction of underwater drones for surveys and inspections of infrastructure and pursuing pilot projects.  In June 2021, MLIT formulated and published its first AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) safe operation guidelines in the light of promoting the use of AUVs to improve efficiency and reduce costs for inspections of offshore wind power generation facilities.   

Market Entry

  • Establishing and maintain a strong business relationship with local partners as agents, distributors and/or representatives 
  • Frequent visit the country to cultivate contacts.   
  • Long-term market entry strategy and consistent follow-up and approach are crucial. 

Competition/Barriers

  • Standards unique to Japan (formal, informal, de facto, or otherwise) 
  • A requirement in some sectors or projects for companies to demonstrate prior experience in Japan, effectively shutting out new entrants 
  • Official regulations that favor domestically produced products and discriminate against foreign products 
  • Licensing powers in the hands of industry associations with limited membership, strong market influence, and the ability to control information and operate without oversight 
  • Cross stock holding and interconnection of business interests among Japanese companies that disadvantage suppliers outside the traditional business group 
  • Cartels (both formal and informal) 
  • The cultural importance of personal relationships in Japan and the reluctance to break or modify business relationships. 

Best Prospects

  • Marine robotics such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in various applications including fishery, aquaculture, and inspection of port infrastructure and wind power generation facilities.   
  • Vessel’s optimization systems to reduce GHG emissions and to deal with new fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and biofuels.  
  • Problem-solving and cutting-edge technology contributing to Japan’s initiatives should have potential in the market. 

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • Bari Ship Imabari Maritime Fair (May 2023) https://www.bariship.com/en/  
  • TECHNO OCEAN (October 2023) https://www.techno-ocean.com/en/  
  • Sea Japan (April 2024) https://www.seajapan.ne.jp/en/  

Market Overview 

  • The United Kingdom is a major international trading power, with the fifth-largest economy in the world. Ranking in seventh place as an export destination for American goods, U.S. exports of goods and services to the UK reached $109.2 billion in 2020.  
  • The UK maritime sector includes port facilities, the shipping fleet, maritime business services, engineering, and the leisure marine sector. Maritime UK, trade body for the maritime industry, reported that the sector directly contributed over $20 billion to the UKs economy in 2017, and supported 220,000 jobs.  
  • The UK hosted the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and has been implementing policies to deliver goals for emissions reduction, such as the new Sixth Carbon Budget target of 78% reductions in emissions (including shipping) by 2035, and net zero emissions by 2050. 
  • The UK is number one in the world for offshore wind power generation in terms of installed capacity. 

Market Trends 

  • The UK Government is keen to improve environmental sustainability and energy efficiency through the adoption of new technology. The UK seeks to be at the forefront of innovation in sustainable energy, developing new technologies that will shape the fight against climate change. 
  • The UK’s installed wind power generating capacity totals around 24,764 megawatts, up from 14,634 megawatts in June 2016. This expansion in capacity has led to wind power becoming an increasingly important contributor to the UK energy mix. 
  • The wind power capacity installation in the UK wind power market is expected to grow rapidly. The offshore wind installations have dominated the UK power market in terms of power generation. In 2021, the wind power market recorded a total number of 55 deals. 
  • Investment in innovation seems to be a clear current trend, as venture capital investment into maritime software and digital startups has grown from > $50 million in 2015 to over $1,100 million in 2019. 
  • Autonomous navigation technology has also been growing at a rapid rate. The UK Government predicts that this sector will be worth over $13 billion and will employ 554,000 people by 2030.  

Market Entry 

  • Entering the UK market requires patience, investment, innovative products, and competitive pricing. The UK supply chain is well-integrated, with most prime contractors looking to reduce the number of their suppliers.  Consequently, a U.S. company should expect to have to commit both time and resources to enter or expand within the UK. 
  • Obtaining an experienced local distributor, representative or partner in the UK is strongly recommended.  
  • U.S. exporters should consider visiting the UK to meet prospective partners and customers, as British businesspeople tend to want to get to know the people with whom they are doing business.  

Competition/Barriers 

  • Companies providing what are known as “me too” products and services will find the UK market non-responsive and challenging. With such a well-integrated and mature supply chain, new U.S. suppliers must demonstrate a clear technological advantage if they are to be successful in the UK. 
  • Global shipping costs are at a historic high. A combination of supply and demand factors have contributed to this very sharp increase in shipping costs since mid-2020.  
  • As UK and third-country suppliers represent strong competition, and with the UK’s desire to increase domestic content across supply chains post-Brexit, U.S. exporters need to offer differentiated products at competitive prices. 

Best Prospects 

  • Decarbonization solutions  
  • Green port technologies 
  • Port digitalization  
  • Autonomous solutions 

Specific Projects/Opportunities 

  • The UK has an ambitious infrastructure program called “The National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline”, containing around $605 billion of projects. 
  • The UK Department for Transport as well as the UK Hydrographic Office have held competitions to support the design and development of technologies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as set out in the Clean Maritime Plan to support the transition to Net Zero by 2050. 
  • Some of the upcoming projects in the UK wind power market include the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm with an estimated capacity of 1,400 MW, and Hornsea Project Two with an estimated capacity of 1,386 MW, among others.  
  • Port investments are market-led, and last year they invested more than $1.3 billion in various development and projects. 

Market Overview​

  • Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the world’s third largest island country with an area of 462,840 km2 and a population of approximately 9 million.​
  • PNG has 5,152km of coastline and a 2.7 million square km exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Areas of direct interest include the Bismarck Sea, Solomon Sea, Gulf of Papua, Torres Strait, and the maritime border with the Solomon Islands.​
  • In 2011 the PNG Government launched the Vision 2050 project. Pillar III of Vision 2050 focuses on institutional development and service delivery, targeting the improvement of the number of jetties and wharves in the country.​
  • The 15 major ports in PNG are the lifeline of the country and provide critical links both within PNG and from PNG to the rest of the world.

Market trends​

  • Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and restrictions on global trade, PNG’s State-Owned Entity, PNG Port’s Corporation Limited have seen growth through the ports in country.​
  • The Australian government recently contributed about AUD$10 million (PGK26 million) in security and safety for all ports in PNG.​
  • There are also plans by PNG Ports and the Government for five new pilot vessels over the next 18 months and for an inland freight hub to service the Highlands Region of PNG.

Market Entry​

  • Working with a local agent, distributor or representative is recommended for this market.​
  • Commercial Services stand-alone office in PNG can offer assistance and resources to enter the market.​
  • Background search on potential partners is important.​
  • In person meetings, communication, and local long-term partnerships are essential for doing business.

Competition/Barriers​

  • Local Content Requirement.​
  • Lack of or limited availability of market intelligence data.​
  • Local representation in PNG for information and understanding of local market and systems.  

Best Prospects​

  • Port Infrastructure & Engineering services.​
  • Port Digitalization & Green port technology.​
  • Solid Waste Management.​
  • Marine cargo handling.

Specific Projects/Opportunities

  • PNG Ports Corporation Ltd – Port Redevelopment Project.​
  • USAID Clean Cities, Blue Ocean Program.