Shipowners need to prepare for the fact that China’s period of exponential growth has passed, warns one of the world’s leading shipping economists today.
Speaking at a Maritime London-organised conference on China, held in conjunction with London International Shipping Week, Dr Martin Stopford, president of Clarkson Research, said China was moving from a development stage of its economy to a more mature phase, something that is already evident with slumping import figures to the world’s most populous nation.
“What I expect from here on is that China is moving from a growth phase into a mature phase,” Stopford said, noting how the country had accounted for 41% of global import growth from 2003 to 2014.
Stopford said there was surplus capacity in China’s shipbuilding, steel and infrastructure sectors.
“The Chinese economy is growing slower as it moves to value added production,” he said.
China has 10% of the world fleet and its shipyards boast 38% of the global orderbook, according to Clarkson data.
For the first time this year steel production as well as iron ore imports in China will not increase, Stopford warned, noting how China’s seaborne imports in the first half were lower year-on-year.
Stopford said that with climate change trade growth will slow around the world.