2018 ended on a positive note for breakbulk carriers. On the demand side, we have seen good market activity. Three major trends should be mentioned here: first, a good recovery of project-related industries; second, a healthy development of the main shipping markets in the container and bulker segment; and third, a strong global business cycle for wind-energy developments. We may add the increasing oil price also forebodes well with regard to oil and gas related investments.
On the supply side, we saw and continue to see the multipurpose/heavy-lift sector undergo massive changes. There is intense activity of asset players that strive to consolidate capacity and seize opportunity while limiting their asset-related risk. This process is ongoing and challenging. On top comes an over-aging MPP/HL fleet and the market’s shortage on modern and efficient tonnage. We expect this to become a hot topic for the next two years, and discussions may intensify through IMO 2020 regulations and further increases in bunker-related cost.
We expect the MPP/HL market to further solidify in the next year, yet some risk remains through the slowdown of world economic growth and potential delays of some project-related investments.
Nevertheless, BBC Chartering’s strategy is to stay a premier carrier for projects worldwide and to provide the market’s leading service to customers. With demand and supply in the MPP/HL segment balancing, and with rates firming, our message for volume-oriented project shippers in 2019 is to plan and secure strategic transport capacity well in advance.