Home >3D printing could cut world trade by 25% by 2060

3D printing could cut world trade by 25% by 2060

29 September 2017

Dutch bank IGN says by 2060, half of all products will be made by 3D printers, if the current 3D printing rate continues.

The company says this will result in world trade by 2060 falling a quarter. This reduction in world trade will hit ports, wholesalers and transport and logistics sectors. 

The bank is particularly concerned auto the impact on its home country, the Netherlands, which is heavily dependent on on the distribution industry. 

At present, the share of 3D printed goods in global production is still small, but investment in 3D printers have risen three times faster than investment in traditional capital goods over the past five years. 

“3D printing brings significant benefits, including cost savings. When producing with 3D printers much less human action is needed. As a result, labour costs are not so decisive in the choices for production sites, "says Raoul Leering, Head of International Trade Research at the ING Economic Bureau. "Instead of importing products from low wage countries, these can be printed inland.”

In the relatively small aerospace and medical devices industries, the use of 3D printing is the most advanced. For example, hips and hearing aids are made with 3D printers.