2013 promises to bring considerable uncertainty, as well as opportunity for the shipping and ports sector. While the U.S. economy appears to be on a slow path toward recovery from the Great Recession, Europe and Asia face challenges such that the long-term global trade outlook is for more tempered growth in global trade.
Significant new vessel deliveries in the near term, particularly for larger ships, will impact ocean carriers, and concerns that this may result in a prolonged period of overcapacity have many lines taking a very cautious approach. Because these trends contribute to increased freight rate volatility, carriers are likely to seek out new alliances and partnerships in an effort to achieve profitability.
Ports that enjoy such advantages as the financial strength coming from a diverse portfolio of business, proximity to major population centers resulting in big local markets, and the ability to offer efficient rail and highway intermodal connectivity will be best positioned to thrive and prosper in this dynamic and rapidly changing market.