Bloomberg News

Shipping Seen by Platou Nearing Recovery as Fleet Growth Slows

February 12, 2013

The merchant-shipping industry, carrying 90 percent of world trade, will draw closer to a recovery this year as weaker fleet expansion helps earnings to rebound from depressed levels, said RS Platou ASA.

Demand for the global fleet will climb to 5 to 6 percent, matching projected growth, with ship utilization staying at 84 percent, the Oslo-based investment bank said in The Platou Report 2013, an annual shipping and offshore overview e-mailed today. An improving world economy should sustain rising demand for seaborne commodities as orders for new ships weaken, the report showed.

“We may well see a nascent recovery in most shipping markets in 2014 and 2015,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Anker said in the report.

Earnings for tankers that haul oil and refined products are set to rise as fleet growth slows below 3 percent by 2014, improving global ship use from that year provided the world economy keeps growing, Platou said. The amount of liquefied natural gas carried on specialized tankers will rise 3 percent this year even as voyages cover shorter distances, it estimated.

“There are reasons to think a change, if not in the air, is certainly visible on the horizon,” Ole-Rikard Hammer, head of research at RS Platou Economic Research, said in the report. A surplus of ships that curbed hire costs is less severe than industry conditions in the 1970s and 1980s, it showed.

Still, owners of container ships carrying boxes of manufactured goods will experience the most difficult year in 2013 amid low demand, Platou said. The 96 percent utilization rate for LNG ships is the highest among all ship types, according to the report.

Seaborne trade reached 8.7 billion metric tons in 2011, including 3 billion tons of oil and gas and 1.5 billion tons carried in containers, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Wiese Bockmann in London at mwiesebockma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net


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