Container Shipping May Hoist Financial Distress Signal: New Study

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Container terminal: File photo CCL3

Beset by continued sluggish demand, a growing mountain of debt and a radically changing marketplace, listed companies in the global container shipping industry as a whole face a greater risk of financial distress, including possible bankruptcy, than at any time since 2010, and that risk has grown in each of those past three years, finds business advisory firm AlixPartners in a new analysis.

Contributing mightily to this situation, according to the study, is a so-so global economy that still hasn’t bounced back from the downturn following the worldwide financial crisis of 2008-09 the way other post-recession economies have in the past. In addition several structural issues also buffet the industry, including a drive to build, fill and route “mega-ships” – a drive that over the past decade has steadily increased leverage across the industry and has left it with an average EBITDA interest-coverage rate of just 4.9, less than half the rate it was in 2011 (10.8) and less than a third of what it was in 2010 (15.0).
 
The study notes, too, that while global fleet capacity in the industry has risen steadily in the past decade, to 16.9 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) for the 12-month period ending September 2013, up from 16.3 million TEU in 2012 and from 10.9 TEU in 2007, that capacity is a long way from being totally utilized, leading in part to more alliances in the industry. This, in turn, according to the study, is likely creating an environment of haves and have-nots where smaller carriers in particular may face some hard choices going forward.
 
On top of all that, the study asserts that other structural changes that will challenge companies this year include changing trade routes in some parts of the world, with cost increasingly trumping transit time, and a newfound pressure on the part of some of the stronger lines to squeeze, or even totally bypass, non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs), giving those lines more advantage over the have-nots of the industry.

“The container shipping industry as a whole continues to face stiff challenges, and for many companies in the industry those challenges could be existential if not addressed,” said Lisa Donahue, managing director and global head of Turnaround & Restructuring Services at AlixPartners. “These challenges also have, and will continue to have, a big effect on shippers and  investors as well.”

Shippers
For shippers, the study recommends closely monitoring the financial health of the carrier base, not “over-consolidating” the carrier base (so as to have alternatives should markets brighten), considering index-linked contract options and benchmarking rates and service levels via objective third-party resources. For investors, the study recommends paying close attention to the widening chasm between the haves and have-nots, and working with experts to determine which companies have viability and which may not – while also keeping an eye out for attractive asset sales, as many lines may move to divest themselves of assets, especially non-core ones, moving forward.

Carriers
Meanwhile, for carriers themselves the study recommends divesting non-core assets, exiting unprofitable trades, adopting a laser-like focus on cost control, reassessing all value propositions, and partnering where partnering makes sense.
 
Need for decisive action

“For all the challenges facing all the players in the container shipping industry today, there are also a lot of opportunities, including the promise of the much greater profitability that a streamlined, resilient industry might bring, as has been the case in many other industries,” said Donahue. “But to make the most of those opportunities will take insightful analysis and then firm, decisive action. It’s been done in other industries, and it can be done in this one as well.”

About the Study

The AlixPartners 2014 Container Shipping Outlook includes a review of the industry’s 15 publically-traded carriers as well as other analysis. Among the measures used in the study is the Altman Z-score, an indicator of financial distress.
 
More information at: www.alixpartners.com

 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter July 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Young Taken on PESA Advisory Board

Hoover Container Solutions’ chairman and CEO, Donald Young, has been nominated and elected to the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) Advisory Board for a three-year term.

US Navy Tests Latest Aegis Weapon System

The U.S. Navy conducted a series of cooperative air defense test exercises with the Spanish navy that culminated in live missile firing events using the latest Aegis Weapon System baseline July 20-21.

Antwerp Port CEO Scoops Baron Title

After 25 years as CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, Eddy Bruyninckx has been raised to the nobility by H.M. the king of Belgium with the rank of baron. In Belgium

Finance

Canada Seek to contain Oil Spill

Authorities are building a new containment boom to fight an oil spill in a major western Canadian river, officials said on Saturday, after the spill breached a

Ecuador Pays $112 mln Award to Chevron

Ecuador has paid $112 million to energy company Chevron Corp over a four-decade-old contract dispute, even though it remains in disagreement, the head of the central bank has said.

NASSCO Bags USS Oak Hill Modification Award

General Dynamics NASSCO-Norfolk was awarded a $42 million cost-plus-award-fee modification to a previously awarded contract for the repair and alteration for the USS Oak Hill (LSD-51).

Container Ships

Young Taken on PESA Advisory Board

Hoover Container Solutions’ chairman and CEO, Donald Young, has been nominated and elected to the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) Advisory Board for a three-year term.

Asia-N.Europe Box Rates Fall 8.1 pct

Freight rates for transporting containers from ports in Asia to Northern Europe fell 8.1 percent to $713 per 20-foot container (TEU) in the week ended on Friday,

G6 Updates Asia-North America West Coast Service

Two services will be merged into one until further notice / Reason is change in market demand / All other services remain unchanged. Members of the G6 Alliance

Logistics

Global Fleet Growth: A More Mature Trend?

The supply of ships into the fleet is a key determinant of vessel earnings across the shipping sectors, and world fleet growth is closely followed by everyone in the maritime industry,

Cosco: No to Shark Fin

China's biggest shipping and logistics company Cosco has pledged a total ban on transporting shark's fins,  says SCMP. It called the move a "body blow" to the international shark's fin trade.

Seaborne Transportation - Economy Without Borders

With seaborne transportation accounting for the vast majority of the world’s international trade, the importance of the shipping industry to the mechanics of the

Consulting

RINA Closes Edif Group Acquisition

RINA S.p.A, the holding company of the multinational testing, inspection, certification and consulting engineering group based in Genoa, Italy, has announced that

CNO Visits Chinese North Sea Fleet

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson visited Chinese North Sea Fleet headquarters, July 20 to meet with fleet commander Vice Adm. Yuan Yubai. The

Fitch Affirms Adani Ports and SEZ at ‘BBB-‘

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) today informed the Stock Exchanges that Fitch Ratings, Singapore has affirmed India-based APSEZ’s Long-Term

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0970 sec (10 req/sec)