Demand for shipping is still there despite pandemic disruption


The maritime transport market is going through a difficult year in 2020 in terms of the freight rate market, in a context of a global pandemic, which has disrupted the global supply chain. In its latest weekly report, shipping broker Intermodal said that “the challenges presented in 2020 have turned out to be very different from what we might have imagined. In addition to straining health systems, COVID-19 has also had a negative impact on businesses, commerce, supply chains and global economies. The maritime industry has faced extensive regulatory constraints at international, national and regional levels in an attempt to contain the spread of the pandemic. Our industry has once again dynamically adapted to change by embracing the “new normal mode of operation” that the virus has imposed on shipping. ”

According to Intermodal’s SnP broker, Mr. Theodore Ntalakos, “On the dry bulk supply side, the global fleet has grown by around 350 vessels year-on-year at an annual growth rate of around 3.4% while the growth rates in 2019 and 2018 were 2.5% and 2% respectively. The current dry bulk order book – excluding slippage / cancellations – is less than 6% of the global fleet. As expected, the replenishment of dry bulk orders in 2020 has been minimal to date; the sector’s order book decreased year-over-year by approximately 200 vessels. The number of vessels over 25 years old has increased by around 50 compared to last September while bulk carriers over 20 years old constitute around 9.5% of the dry bulk fleet ”.

Mr. Ntalakos added that “the increase in the vessel fleet of 171 tankers year-on-year (just over 3% of the total fleet) was led by the MR segment and included 74 MR, 40 VLCC, 18 Suezmax , 16 Aframax / LR2, 14 Handy and 9 Panamax / LR1 ship additions. Overall, it has been a good year for the oil companies; the oil tanker order book is slightly smaller than in September 2019 – it is down by around. 15 ships. It should be noted that the tanker order book fell by more than 100 ships last year. The current ratio of tanker order book to fleet is around 7%, which is a 5-year low and the fleet of vessels over 20 years old has seen an increase of around 100 vessels ” .

Source: Intermodal

The Intermodal analyst added that “the strict measures used around the world to limit the spread of COVID-19 have caused an economic slowdown in emerging and developed countries. A number of countries have so far avoided serious economic hardship with the aid of large fiscal and monetary support programs. The economic growth forecasts for all regions are dire and a contraction in global GDP is forecast (at least) for 2020. However, the current freight market (especially for the dry segment) illustrates that there is still growing demand. of maritime transport. Arguably, the pandemic is just an “additional” disruption that the shipping industry is tasked with tackling. This disruption is analogous to previous barriers to the shipping market such as production disruptions, economic concerns and political instability. In the end, we must not forget that maritime transport is an infinite game and that its perpetuation should be the key objective behind all its actors ”, concluded Ntalakos.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide


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