Freight rates set to improve

Freight rates are forecast to improve or maintain existing levels over the next 12 months, and an increase in private equity funding is expected to have a major impact on the industry.

Shipping Confidence Survey

The latest Shipping Confidence Survey from international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens shows that overall confidence levels in the shipping industry rose to their highest level in the three-month period to February 2014, since the global economic crisis of 2008 hit the shipping industry.

The survey reported that the mood of improving confidence evident in many of the responses to the survey was tempered by an awareness of the difficulties which the industry still faces. One respondent said: “There are signs that we have passed the deepest point of the recession. The only question now is how long it will take for the markets to improve to the point where we have sustainable rates again. It may be that some shipowners will still not make it because time – or cash and the patience of the banks – will run out.” Elsewhere it was noted that “2014 will see us bounce along, with small upward flurries followed by a return to barely profitable rates for all but debt-free vessels.”

The report showed a higher level of optimism with regard to rate increases in the container shipping sector. The numbers expecting rates to increase in the container shipping market were up 4 per cent to 34 per cent. Expectations of improved container shipping rates were up by 2 per cent in Asia to 38 per cent, up 4 per cent in Europe to 31 per cent, but dropped in North America from 44 per cent to 27 per cent.