The ocean shipping industry’s confidence grew in the quarter ended Nov. 30 despite concerns about vessel overcapacity and the slowing global economy, particularly in relation to the euro zone crisis, according to a new survey.
But the confidence level of the industry is the second-lowest since the survey was launched in May 2008, according to the latest shipping confidence by survey accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens. Executives say they are more likely to make major new investments in the next 12 months.
For the first time since February 2009, the number of respondents overall expecting a decline in container freight rates was higher than the number anticipating rate increases.
Just 23 percent of respondents expect container rates to go up compared to the 28 percent of executives who predicted rate hikes last quarter. The number of those expecting higher rates was the second-lowest figure since the survey began, behind only the 20 percent recorded in October 2008.
Thirty-one percent of executive believe rates would go down, the highest figure since the 36 percent recorded in February 2009.
The number of container ship charterers expecting rates to increase fell from 30 percent in August this year to just 13 percent this time. The number for owners and managers who believe charter rates will increase was also down, from 25 percent to 23 percent, and from 31 percent to 23 percent, respectively.
For the shipping industry as a whole, the average level of confidence in November 2011 was 5.4 on a scale of 1 to 10, up from the 5.3 level recorded in August 2011.
Confidence among shipowners was up from 5.1 to 5.3, but down on the part of charterers, from 5.0 to 4.9. There was a small increase in confidence in the broking sector, from 5.1 to 5.2.
Confidence was highest among managers, unchanged at 5.6. Europe, up from 5.0 to 5.1, was the least confident region. In May 2008, European confidence stood at a high of 6.6, and as recently as August 2010 was running at 6.1. Confidence in Asia rose from 5.7 to 5.8 and in North America from 5.1 to 5.8.