Moore Stephens: Weak Spots in Shipping Risk Management
Confidence in the ability of sound risk management to contribute to commercial success in the shipping industry has fallen in the last 12 months, according to the latest annual Shipping Risk Survey from Moore Stephens.
Respondents to the survey rated the extent to which enterprise and business risk management is contributing to the success of their organisation at an average 5.9 out of a possible score of 10.0, compared to 6.8 in the 2017 survey.
Brokers returned the highest rating, followed by ship managers. For the first time in the four-year life of the survey, Europe was behind Asia in terms of geographical sentiment, but it was the Middle East which once again returned the highest figure (6.8).
Overall, respondents rated the extent to which enterprise and business risk was being managed effectively by their organisations at 7.3 out of 10.0, up from the rating of 7.1 recorded last time to the highest figure in the life of the survey. Charterers expressed the highest level of confidence in this regard.
Demand trends was cited by 17% of respondents (up from 16% in the previous survey) as the factor likely to pose the highest level of risk to their organisation. The cost and availability of finance (up from 13% to 16%) featured in second place, followed by competition, down from 14% to 13%. Operating costs were ranked in fourth place at 9% compared to 10% last year. There were also significant increases for bunker and fuel costs (up from 4% to 7%) and geopolitics (up from 4% to 6%). Meanwhile, supply of crew declined from 6% to 3%.
Geographically, demand trends remained the number one concern in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Respondents to the survey felt that the level of risk posed by most of the factors which impacted their business would remain steady over the next 12 months, with the exception of demand trends, fuel emissions, bunker and fuel costs and geopolitics, which were all perceived to have the potential for increased risk.
Michael Simms, partner, Shipping Industry group, says: “Shipping is a high-risk industry, and one where inattention to the proper identification and management of risk can have catastrophic consequences. It is not possible to take the risk out of shipping. But it is possible to reduce the levels of risk by identifying potential hazards and then putting in place measures to eliminate or reduce them.
“Traditionally, this has not been something at which shipping has excelled. Too often in the industry, the risk has outweighed the reward. But there has never been a more pressing need for shipping to address the way in which it analyses and manages risk.
“Our survey reveals that shipping is responding on some levels to existing and new challenges relating to the management of risk, but falling short in others. The disappointing news is that the respondents to our survey emerged as significantly less satisfied than they were 12 months ago that sound enterprise and business risk management was contributing to commercial success.