Are we entering peak bankruptcy time now for shipping? I’d argue that the coming six to 12 months will see many more big names in shipping and offshore go to the wall as stretched balance sheets meet continued dire rates.
A glance at the most read articles on this site this week paints its own picture of the depressed times we are going through. The debate about whether this downturn is worse than the nadir of the 1980s is rapidly becoming no argument. Remember all those analysts a couple of years back with their ‘darkest hour before dawn’ shtick? How wrong they were. We’re only mid-way through a dark, chilly, winter’s night.
This week saw Singapore-listed Rickmers Maritime skirt with the real threat of bankruptcy, potentially joining a long list that recently has included compatriot Swiber Holdings and Hanjin Shipping. Another Singaporean outfit, Marco Polo Marine, has also admitted it is in trouble while Perisai Petroleum Teknologi across the causeway sought to defer bond payments. In Europe, a report out suggested 20% of all KG boxships are now insolvent, a figure a source tells me will soon grow by another 40%. In dry bulk, the ceo of Star Bulk warned the downturn could well last into 2019.
On the plus side, anyone that manages to come out of this unprecedented recession can expect to have far less competition come the start of the next decade.