The global shipping market has left the tsunami days of 2015-2016 and returning to calmer seas driven by the stronger global economy. However, are rougher seas just around the corner as new challenges arise from autonomous vessels, emissions regulations and oil supply growth.
According to the United Nations, around 80% of global trade by volume and more than 70% of global trade by value is carried out over maritime trading routes. The majority of these routes are expecting to see more volume in 2018, this is reflected by expectations of a stronger global economy.
The global shipping market is recovering from a lull, new orders are finally picking up and the global economy is near pre-financial crisis levels. But the US government unveiled tariffs on the imports of solar panels earlier this year and the section 301 investigation into China is being drafted, are we about to re-enter the lost decade?
The global container market is likely to enjoy a strong year ahead, but the balancing act between vessel oversupply, scrappage rate, oil market volatility, rising protectionism and geopolitical conflict remain as barriers to sustained profitability for carriers.
Despite a capacity surplus in the container market, new orders are being received. The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), CMA CGM and COSCO are booking more than thirty 22,000 teu new vessels, where the first are expected for delivery in 2019.
Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, four of the largest shipbuilders are bullish amid a spate of new orders and their share prices have surged since January.
Whether you see China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative as an economic boost for the 65 nations along the routes, a way for China to export its industrial overcapacity, or regional hegemony, it comes with both opportunities and risks. Is Hong Kong the ideal place to arrange the finance for the opportunities and a centre for arbitration when disputes arise?