A moratorium on newbuilding orders and an end to the battle for market share between shipbuilders are needed to combat the oversupply of capacity, said Spyros Polemis, chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping.
In the current global climate of “massive uncertainty,” with rates in all key segments highly volatile and barely economic for operators, he called for restraint from owners and intervention from governments. The global container fleet is set to grow 8.3 percent, or 1.28 million 20-foot equivalent unit, this year, while demand is expected to grow 6.5 percent, according to Alphaliner.
“What we also have to acknowledge is that many of the problems confronting shipping have undoubtedly been exacerbated by ship owners placing orders for far too many ships, with far too few cargoes to carry,” he said.
Polemis called on China, Korea and Japan, which account for roughly 90 percent of global shipbuilding capacity, to stop being “obsessive” about market share.
“Even if some shipyards go bankrupt, it is almost certain that their governments will step in to support them so that they can continue to produce ships which few people want — other than speculators who may be tempted by knock down prices — or China, having a widely recognised goal of wanting to carry a much larger proportion of its cargoes, perhaps 50 percent, on board its own ships,” he said.
-- Contact Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org