COSCO Group CEO sees shipping recovering in 2009

The downturn in the shipping sector will not last for long, the Chief Executive of Chinese giant COSCO has said, expressing hope that demand would rebound in the first half of next year.

Global shipping, facing its worst crisis in decades, has seen dry cargo rates dive more than 90 percent after a five-year boom. But COSCO said that investors need to replace panic with confidence to help the sector recover. ‘The financial tsunami affects real shipping demand. Shipping is diving due to the panic of investors …but the diver has to come up eventually, COSCO CEO Wei Jiafu said during a recent visit to Greece to sign a deal to operate container services at the country’s largest port. “The downturn in the shipping sector will not last for several years … I hope in the first half of next year shipping demand will be back.’ COSCO Pacific said last month it would cut capital spending in the fourth quarter and in 2009 to strengthen its balance sheet amid the global crisis. Mr Wei did not say if the company would cut investments to mitigate the effects of the crisis.

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