Maritime Cyprus 2015 Conference – New World Order
The last day of the Maritime Cyprus conference focused on the subject Shipping “New World Order” and was divided into two parts, the first was entitled “Geopolitical Developments v. Shipping” and the second “Markets “Oracle”.
The first discussion relating to “Geopolitical Developments v. Shipping” was moderated by Mr. Julian Bray, Editor-in-Chief for TradeWinds. The group of panelists consisted of Mr. George Lakkotrypis, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Andrew Hampson, Managing Director, Asset Backed Investments, Tufton Oceanic Limited and Mr. John B. Richardson, Special Adviser, FIPRA International. The aim of the discussion was to examine how the geopolitical developments affect shipping. In particular the discussion sought to identify the factors of the current and prospective world stage which would influence the industry as well as the trends in shipping. Mr. Lakkotrypis stressed the tremendous potential for positive developments in the shipping industry due to the discovery of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean. The exploration of hydrocarbons and the development of offshore installations not only provides the Republic of Cyprus with emerging opportunities but could also act as a catalyst for dialogue and regional cooperation.
The second discussion was entitled Markets “Oracle”. The Moderator of this discussion was Mr. Themis Papadopoulos, President of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber. The group of panelists consisted of Mr. John Bamford, Managing Director, Sale & Purchase Department, Simpson Spence Young Ltd, Mrs. Katharina Stanzel, Managing Director, INTERTANKO, and Mr. Peter Sand, Chief Shipping Analyst, BIMCO. The discussion was focused on the current market trends and the outlook for the bulk, tanker and container sectors. It was agreed by the panelists that forecasting seems to have become inherently more challenging especially after the witnessed global economic crisis since 2008 and the latest worrying property market and stock exchange developments faced by China. Moreover, the tonnage over-supply and the big increase in ship building capacity was also discussed in view of the non-remarkable demand growth evidenced in the past years, and whether this would lead to a rebalancing of demand-supply in the forthcoming years.
In concluding, trade in raw materials was agreed to have become unpredictable as supply and demand fluctuates at considerable levels making the forecasting process much more challenging. The panelists suggested that with a contraction of the container, tanker and bulk markets globally, tonne-miles do count. The only way to improve the freight market could be to control the supply of vessels given the fact that the ship owners do not have any control over the demand side.