What might feel like a global shipping meltdown will, in hindsight, be viewed as a worldwide shift to an Asian domination of the maritime industry. Such was the conclusion of a recent shipping finance forum in Tokyo.
‘ Asia’s determination to protect its shipbuilding industries and to secure its means of supply through nationally owned tonnage has destroyed predictions that a lack of finance would mitigate the impact of an over-exuberant newbuilding market through cancellations. FSL Trust Management president and chief executive Philip Clausius told a gathering of international shipping financiers that the widely-predicted massive cancellation of the orderbook will happen while state-owned Chinese shipowners are being offered 17% subsidies to soak up cancellations from foreign owners. “Ship deliveries may be delayed a year or so. They may not go to the original owners, but they will come. And the massive oversupply hangover will not go away any time soon,” he said. In a similar vein, Marine Money Asia’s financial analyst Rodericks Wong pointed to the speed of Asian governments, primarily in South Korea and China, in initiating larger financial stimulus packages than elsewhere to support both their domestic shipbuilders and owners. This was a leading driver that would shift the balance of shipowning primacy eastward, he said.