The shipping industry would see optimism outweigh pessimism during the next twelve months, according to shipping adviser Moore Stephens.
“According to a recent study, pessimists live longer than optimists, and shipping is short of neither. But the industry has always valued longevity as well as new blood, and it certainly ended 2017 in more optimistic mood than it closed the previous year,” Richard Greiner, Moore Stephens Partner, Shipping & Transport, said.
Overall industry confidence hit a three-year high in 2017. Oil prices reached a three-year peak, while there was a 50% rise in the Baltic Dry Index over a six-month period in the second half of 2017.
Finance was available from within and outside the industry, Greiner said, adding that some sanity returned to the newbuilding orderbooks, and charterers in particular displayed an appetite for new investment.
“In 2018, freight rates will harden if there is a further reduction in tonnage overcapacity and an acceleration in ship demolition,” Greiner added.
Smart technology will assume increasing importance, adding value and improving safety but putting pressure on R&D budgets. Doubts are expected to persist about the sufficiency of low-sulphur fuel, and gas will become an increasingly attractive option for powering new and converted tonnage as the price of oil recovers.
“Shipping remains a vital global industry, carrying the vast majority of world trade while emitting a lower per-unit level of harmful emissions than any other comparable form of transport. In 2018, optimism can be expected to outweigh pessimism in the shipping industry,” Greiner concluded.