Slowing growth in the size of the shipping fleet is to reduce te shortage of officers from 20,900 at the end of 2015 to 7,700 by the end of 2020, according to the Manning report published by shipping consultancy Drewry.
The global fleet – encompassing all sectors except the non-cargo carrying ship types such as tugs and passenger ships, and smaller coaster vessels, such as oil tankers and bulk carriers of less than 10,000 dwt – is expected to rise by a mere 300 vessels through 2016-2020, the report shows.
Weak demand, coupled with falling commodity prices and oversupply of tonnage in most sectors led to rates collapsing to levels unseen since the global financial meltdown in 2008-2009.
Growing concerns in the global economy and depressed freight rates have forced owners to refrain from contracting new orders, impacting the shipbuilding sector such as for example the one in South Korea.
In addition, order cancellations and vessel demolitions have become a regular feature of the market.
With poor freight earnings, owners and operators are forced to reduce costs, in turn keeping any increase in wage levels to a bare minimum.
While manning costs for this year are largely similar to those in 2015, in some sectors, such as LNG, there have been some uplifts in wage costs over the past year.
“With the growth in the size of the cargo carrying fleet tapering off, we expect the ongoing officer shortage to ease and for wage costs to increase modestly over the next five years”, Nikhil Jain, senior analyst at Drewry, said.