London: Some segments of the shipping industry are enduring very tough times in 2016, mainly container, offshore and dry bulk, and it’s hard to see the half glass as full.
“You have to be an optimist in the long term in shipping; short and mid-term the sentiment is definitely more pessimistic than optimistic”. That is the thinking of Peter Karlsen, ceo of Norbulk Shipping.
Norbulk was formed in 1982 following the sale of Anglo Nordic Shipping’s fleet and through the ages the company acted as technical manager for some important owners such as Occidental Oil, Navios, BHP and Marathon Oil.
Today the company through its operating subsidiaries undertakes full technical management of more than 90 vessels (crude, chemical and product tankers, LPG carriers, bulk carriers, reefer vessels, ro-ro vessels and container feeder ships). Norbulk recently also set up new joint ventures in association with investment companies in order to take shares in new shipping projects.
Karlsen says: “The biggest bother facing the industry at the moment is low charter rates which are unstable in the dry bulk and container markets. The enormous oversupply of vessels in most sectors, combined with a slowdown in global trade volumes, has been a perfect storm for the shipping industry.”
The Norbulk executive is reluctant to make any predictions on the future market cycles: “As everyone in the industry knows, things have been awful in the offshore sector and dry bulk. Even if there has been a marginal recovery in rates from a few months ago, values and earnings have taken a huge hit in this cycle”.
Therefore Karlsen still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and concludes: “The markets are going to remain challenging for some time into the future.”