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In the latest issue of Bottom Line, Moore Stephens says that it expects optimism to surpass pessimism in the shipping industry, over the next twelve months.

In 2017, shipping confidence continued its high rating. Oil prices reached their highest point in three years, while in the Baltic Dry Index a 50% rise was noticed in the second half of 2017, Richard Greiner said.

He added that, “finance was available from within and outside the industry, while some sanity returned to the newbuilding orderbooks, and charterers in particular displayed an appetite for new investment.”

“In 2018, freight rates will harden if there is a further reduction in tonnage overcapacity and an acceleration in ship demolition. Money will still be available for the right investment. Shipping will continue to be impacted by geopolitical uncertainty, which could be influenced in either a positive or negative way by elections in Brazil, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, Russia and elsewhere, Mr. Greiner noted.” 

Moreover, US interest rates are expected to increase in 2018, with the implications of new accounting standards starting to bite. Smart technology will develop as well, while doubts will appear regarding the sufficiency of low-sulphur fuel, with gas becoming more and more attractive for powering new and converted tonnage.

However, it is uncertain whether or not Brexit will cause a certain point of pessimism, or shipping industry’s optimism will continue.

“If there were no pessimists, there would be no optimists. Shipping remains a vital global industry, carrying the vast majority of world trade while emitting a lower per-unit level of harmful emissions than any other comparable form of transport. In 2018, optimism can be expected to outweigh pessimism in the shipping industry,” Richard Greiner concluded.