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NSR: Maritime satcom buoyed by broadband demand despite COVID-19 impact

nsr may 7

Northern Sky Research (NSR) has published the 8th edition of its Maritime SATCOM Markets report that finds mixed impact to Maritime Satcom Markets in the near-term, a challenging middle period, yet optimism for longer-term sector health.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} In 2019, there were a reported 24,000 VSAT-enabled vessels and over $2.8B in retail revenues, with expectations that 2020 would be another strong year. However, widespread economic shutdowns due to COVID-19, unprecedented pause to the cruise sector, and collapsing oil prices have caused significant near-term disruption. While ships continue to require crew, transport goods, and perform essential services, these bright spots cannot mask the near-term systemic risks.

“The Maritime sector is perhaps the ‘2nd worst’ impacted mobility market due to COVID-19,” said principal analyst and report author Brad Grady. “Unlike the Airline industry, which has largely parked their aircraft awaiting a ‘return to normal’, everything from cruise ships to merchant vessels remain “online” with crew or other shipboard-functions - even if their operational duties have slowed or vanished. The immediate effect is that 2020 bandwidth demand will see a 7 per cent increase over 2019 figures, even while In-service units and retail revenues decrease. as service providers launch or re-launch crew welfare-focused applications, cruise ships are re-tasked repatriating crew members, and all maritime end-users look at ways to safely operate in what is likely to become a ‘new normal’; the demand for connectivity will continue to increase on a per-vessel basis. What’s in question – how many vessels will be active over the next ten years?”

Amongst the five core maritime segments (merchant, passenger, offshore, fishing, leisure), the report states that offshore faces the longest road to revenue recovery – not matching 2019 retail revenues until 2027 as crude pricing challenges are met with a sharp decrease in petroleum demand.

Vessels are however adopting VSAT connectivity and higher bandwidth provisioning rates. Retail revenues yield a cumulative $34.5B with broadband connectivity accounting for over 80 per cent, capacity demand grows 24 per cent, and the addressable market will expand to over 500,000 vessels by 2029 – all signs that the long-term fundamentals remain strong. 

The full report can be accessed for a fee by clicking here

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