Downturn brings shipping closer to the general public

A picture paints a thousand words so the saying goes. I was indebted earlier this week to lawyer Lars-Erik Østerbø who sent me the snap above of many laid up rigs at a stunning fjord location near his home in Norway.

The past eight years of recession in the shipping and offshore industries has actually shown the hardware of these all to often invisible sectors to the general public more than normal thanks to the thousands of laid up vessels around the world. Whether it’s flying into Singapore, heading to anchorages off Dubai or dotting the littoral coastlines of the North Sea, the depression in shipping and offshore is plain to see.

By some distance the ongoing decline and fall of Singaporean offshore concern Ezra Holdings was our most read stories on Splash this week. It too has vessels mothballed and increasingly looks like a casualty waiting to happen to join the long list of maritime firms who have failed to navigate the choppy waters presented this decade.

The week ends with the final curtain for one of shipping’s biggest brands – Hanjin Shipping finally declared bankrupt by a court in Seoul. Columnist Kris Kosmala’s obituary today of the Korean carrier is the week’s must read on the site (and again the accompanying pic, carried below, helps sell the story!). From a personal point of view, I will miss the line – it did have decent people, just not at the top, and it was also made a sacrificial lamb by weak politicians who had come under a lot of flak for bailing out arguably weaker maritime firms.


Hanjin tombstone

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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