The shipping world appears to be entering 2014 with a higher level of confidence than it has the past three years, according to the latest Shipping Confidence Survey from international accountant and Maritime London member Moore Stephens.
The firm noted encouraging news on freight rates. According to London’s Baltic Exchange its headline Baltic Dry Index, which tracks dry bulk freight rates, stood at an average of 1205 points over the whole of 2013 against 929 the previous year. Significantly though, the average for 2013’s fourth quarter was a confidence-inspiring 1854 points.
Moore Stephens also noted evidence of an increased willingness to invest.
Despite a great deal of positivity, concerns resurfaced again in the report over the cost of regulation, operating costs and overtonnaging.
Moore Stephens shipping partner, Richard Greiner, said: “The findings of this latest survey provide more good news for the shipping industry. It is now fifteen months since we recorded a decline in shipping confidence. There is an old adage which says that confidence is contagious. If that is true, shipping certainly seems to have caught the bug.”
He added: “It was noticeable on this occasion that, in contrast to previous surveys, very few of our respondents referred to the effect that the global economic and political situation is having on their business. This does not mean, of course, that those problems have gone away. But it is a clear indication that they are perceived to be improving, to the extent that the industry is now focusing on issues closer to home, and moreover on problems where they can realistically contribute towards helping to find a solution.”
Source: Moore Stephens Confidence Survey/Maritime London