Finance and Insurance

Shipping post-Lehman not as bad as the 1980s: Clarksons

Stephen Gordon, managing director of Clarksons Research, has had his say on the decade since Lehman Brothers collapsed. Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary since the US’s fourth largest investment bank went bankrupt, sparking the global financial crisis and a dire period for the shipping industry.

Gordon suggested, however, that as bad as the last 10 years had been, they were not as bad as shipping’s recession of the 1980s.

‘[A]lthough the shipping recession has felt prolonged, it’s been far from a ‘dead’ decade with surprising upside at times,” Gordon wrote in the latest weekly report from Clarksons Research.

Even in 2009, capesize earnings rose to $70,000 a day as China’s steel output yo-yoed, Gordon observed. There were also spikes in LNG (2012), LPG (2014-5), tankers (2015) and offshore (2013-14); and heavy newbuild ordering (2010, 2013) and record years for S&P (2017).

“[P]lenty of business has been done, helped by low interest rates,” Gordon observed.

Gordon concluded suggesting the container sector has had the most pain over the past 10 years, but he told readers to spare a thought for the bankers.

Read Splash’s own take on the decade post-Lehman here.

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.


  1. Spare a thought for the bankers???? That’s a remark which will not garner much sympathy in the shipping sector!!! If shipping could earn bonuses like bankers seem to be able to do and if there was no come back in shipping in the same way as in banking on the catastrophic mistakes that some have overseen and even been caused with impunity, then we in shipping would be a lot happier.

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