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Wednesday, 09 January 19
SHIPPING MARKET INSIGHT - INERMODAL
IntermodalParaphrasing the words of a Chief economist in a latest report of the World Bank Group, the current state of the shipping market very much resembles that of a ship sailing, for the past decade, in shallow and tidy waters trying to avoid groundings. It was caught on a grounding two years ago, but is now freed by the rising tide. The Captain is of course relieved to be able to set sail. But this relief must be tempered by the urgency to sail toward deeper seas before the receding waters beach the ship again. 
 
Until the mid of 2018, all the forecasts for 2018 and 2019 reflected optimism. More than half of the world's countries were experiencing growth. There was a synchronized recovery resulting in faster and stronger growth in the near term. Unemployment has declined in USA, Europe and Japan, whilst inflation has not picked up, finding a point of golden balance. However, as the report from WBG points out, the medium term prospects tell a different story. Trade wars may be devastating and the protectionist threats have already cast their spell on the world's growth, with uncertainty killing investment. Obviously this is also directly affecting the shipping market; adding on top of this the 2020 Sulphur cap regulations and untested solutions, the future of coal and the additional capex for WBT the result is more uncertainty, which makes shipping professionals more reluctant. 
 
Downside risks to global growth have risen in the past eight months and expectations for upside surprises have receded. Global growth downward revision during 2018 reflects events that suppressed activity  in some major advanced economies, the negative effects of the trade threats and measures already implemented or approved, as well as a weaker outlook for some key emerging market and developing economies arising from country-specific factors, geopolitical tensions, and higher oil import bills. 
 
On the ship supply side (>20,000dwt), the dry bulk fleet grew by 200 vessels in absolute terms since last year. Whilst 2018 will be remembered for the very few bulk carrier deliveries - from the 400 bulk carriers that were planned to be delivered in 2018 just 268 ships were delivered - there was also very low scrapping activity, just fifty bulk carriers were sold for demolition. For 2019 it is projected that shipbuilders will deliver about another 530 vessels. The orderbook has increased by about 200 vessels since the same time last year but if we go back another few years it is much smaller and appears much more reasonable. Compared to the existing fleet, new building orders are 7% for the Handysize, 6% for the Supramax and 10% for the Panamax/Kamsarmax sector and the Capesize sector is 11%. 
 
The trade growth, i.e. demand for seaborne trade, in 2019 and 2020 and the fleet utilization will judge the fate of a lot of the older tonnage and whether the market is good enough to support additional investment (WBT)  or not, in which case they will have to make way for the younger ones. Oil prices and the efficiency of each vessel will play a huge role on investment decisions. So, once again, we are approaching 2020 with uncertainty and volatility on both the demand and the supply side. 2019 is going to be interesting... 
 
Happy New Year to All.
By Theodoros Ntalakos
SnP Broker

Compiled by:
Intermodal Research & Valuations


Analysts:
Ms Eva Tzima

George Panagopoulos


Disclaimer and legal disclosure: For any further queries please do not hesitate to contact our Research & Valuations Department. The information contained in this report has been obtained from various sources, as reported in the market. Intermodal Shipbrokers Co. believes such information to be factual and reliable without making guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness. Whilst every care has been taken in the production of the above review, no liability can be accepted for any loss or damage incurred in any way whatsoever by any person who may seek to rely on the information and views contained in this material. This report is being produced for the internal use of the intended recipients only and no reproducing is allowed, without the prior written authorization of Intermodal Shipbrokers Co.

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