Ramifications and future fall-out on the world, nation and marine business from the terrorist attacks of September 11 will surely be a long, evolving process. It is impossible to conceive of what the next year will bring — business-wise — when it is difficult to project what is in store for the coming weeks and months. Gloom is surely the mood of the day, fed by daily reports of plummeting freight rates and oil prices
, as well as Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, such as was recently announced by American Classic Voyages and Renaissance Cruises. It is, however, more critical than ever to realize that the sun, both literally and figuratively, will rise again.
While a number of good companies today are struggling with the very real prospect of going out of business, current conditions present a good buying opportunity for well-managed companies. Consolidation of companies that own, operate, build and supply equipment and services for vessels — already a naturally occurring trend — will likely be put on the fast-track in coming months. At press time, it appears that Northrop Grumman (NOC)
will come out on top in the competition to buy the crown jewel of U.S. shipbuilding, Newport News Shipbuilding.
Still, the very basics of owning and operating vessels, both large and small, will be forever changed. While the marine business is not the central focus on the war on terrorism, the waterways are considered to be a viable means of delivering terror, and as such, a number of security measures are coming into place. Companies that intend to prosper would be wise to evaluate and implement the best security plans today, as the secure delivery of cargo and passengers will increasingly go to companies that have a proven commitment to delivering both securely and on time. Captain James S. Clarkson, Modern Maritime Group, writes on current security strategies for marine companies in this edition.