Singapore: In a sobering interview with Maritime CEO today a leading name in the Asian project-shipping scene warns of an impending bloodbath coming to the sector.
Genshipping Pacific Line (GPL) ceo, Gabrijel Kobal, is refreshingly honest when talking about prospects for this year – there is no PR spin, just straight talk.
“At today’s ocean freights levels no one can be happy,” he says. “If this trend continues for the next couple of months, many players are bound to disappear, restructure or merge.”
GPL is a project and general cargo niche player within Asia, operating between India and the Far East. Its fleet with six ships is a mix of roros and tweendeckers. A new tweendecker will be added to the fleet in the coming months.
Owners and operators are “well into panic levels”, Kobal says. “We are seeing sort of consolidations through cooperation agreements, even involving arch rivals. Although each of us is fighting for market relevance, freights are well below operating costs.”
Project shipping has undergone more merger activity that most of other shipping sectors in the past four years, largely down to the influx of huge amounts of private equity cash.
GPL is not exempt from such market forces, according to Kobal. “A pinch of optimism has to prevail,” he says, smiling, “otherwise we can start packing already.”
Kobal concludes by warning that unless there is a concerted effort by all concerned to curb overcapacity in the project/heavylift sector “we will witness a real bloodbath”.