Shipping Industry Still More Confident, But Some Waver

MarineLink.com
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry held firm over the three-month period to August 2013, maintaining the highest level reached since November 2010, according to Moore Stephens' latest Shipping Confidence Survey, but some industry insiders they sounded out had mixed views.

There was a theme of quietly returning confidence running through the comments of a number of respondents. “There is a feeling of optimism and the sense that we have turned a corner, with supply and demand expected to come into balance,” said one respondent.” Another noted, “The market is waking up, and more opportunities will appear in the near future,” and another still that, “The shipping market is very competitive and constantly evolving, with more and more new players entering the industry as the demand for shipping cargo by sea continues to increase.”

Elsewhere it was noted, “The shipping industry is seemingly moving towards a positive place, albeit slowly,” and, “The shipping market is on the rise, and will continue on that path.” One respondent said, “A shrinking orderbook, combined with the anticipated US and European economic recovery, should help to increase demand in 2014.”

Not everybody was so confident, say Moore Stephens, with one respondent going so far as to say, “We have never known a period in shipping where the uncertainty factor has been so high in so many areas.” Another said, “Looking at the moves of some of the major players, we have to ask whether we are all blind or just plain ignorant. The rest of us will be paying for a handful of greedy CEOs who hide behind their number-crunchers who make everything look bright and shiny.”

Another respondent observed, “Some niche markets are showing definite signs of a boom, but others are still in decline. Any overall recovery is still at least another two years away. Managing to survive the last five years is no guarantee that a company will survive the next five.” Elsewhere it was noted that the abiding message must be, “Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate!”

A number of respondents expressed continuing concern about overcapacity. “Our biggest fear,” said one, “is that the financial markets will enter the shipping sector and start ordering new vessels again before moderate growth and scrapping volumes have had time to absorb excess tonnage.” Another said, “We are already worrying about the market from 2016 onwards because too many newbuilding orders are being placed on pure spec.”

One respondent said, “A lot of companies and investment funds seem to have the money and courage to invest again in new orders because they see that building prices have bottomed out. But we already have a serious problem with oversupply in all sectors and all tonnage sizes which will certainly not be solved by the time those new ships now being ordered will be ready to enter service.”

A number of respondents referenced the debilitating effect of overtonnaging on freight rates. “Freight rates need to rise,” said one, “but this will not happen while the supply of ships exceeds demand.” Another emphasised, “Freight rates cannot go up unless more ships are scrapped. Newbuilding should be stopped for a specified period, and the supply of easy cash should be regulated.”

Source: Moore Stephens
http://www.moorestephens.co.uk/Home.aspx

 

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