Haralambos Fafalios: “Shipping markets face a fragile economic recovery”

In view of the 87th annual report of the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee the president Haralambos Fafalios commented on the latest developments in the world economy and shipping markets including the Greek owned fleet.
The consequences of the war between Ukraine – Russia is that the supply of some of the world’s main seaborne commodities, i.e. grain. coal, iron ore, fertilizers and oil has been severely disrupted and as a result price fluctuations and inflation has been very significant.
One must not forget the fate of seafarers on board ships in Ukrainian or perhaps Russian ports. We implore Governments (especially Russia) to treat them well and hopefully to release all ships that are caught in the Black Sea. We also demand that safe sea lanes exist, if and when certain northern Black Sea ports reopen. Safe from sea mines is the most important goal.
The only plus point shipping wise is that as all Black Sea business was relatively short haul it has all been replaced by longer haul cargoes, thus increasing significantly the tonne miles covered.
This instability in commodity prices has brought back inflation as an unpleasant side effect and created great social unrest globally.
Where the world economy was just about recovering from a COVID-19 induced economic contraction, it is now facing a recession brought about by raging inflation and a very fragile economic recovery.
Whilst all this uncertainty exists globally it is sometimes difficult to see how all this affects the various shipping markets.
The container sector still remains very strong with a healthy demand structure resulting from a global restocking post pandemic. However, a huge orderbook could cause some problems in the future.
The dry bulk sector has improved over the last year but it suffers from too much FFA induced volatility and a large fleet that could easily become oversupplied if the orderbook gets any bigger.
The tanker sector, though assisted by extra tonne miles due to the war in Ukraine is still at a low level, especially for the VLCCS, due to fleet oversupply.
The gas carrier market, especially LNG carriers is in a very healthy state due to the desperate need to replace Russian supplies with gas sourced from other exporters. The car carrier and Ro-Ro sector is also in very positive territory.
Against this background, the Greek merchant fleet continues to grow with predominantly newbuildings, thus bringing down the fleet age and increasing its competitiveness and GHG efficiency.
The Greek shipping fleet is by far the worlds’ largest fleet (15-20%) and Europe’s dominant fleet (60%).
Greek companies continue to invest in high-technology, energy efficient, low carbon newbuildings, and purchase high-quality modern second-hand vessels.
Posidonia 2022′s great popularity attests to the fact that more companies than ever want to exhibit their wares in the world’s premiere maritime marketplace.
Due to its technical excellence and the Greek companies tramp trading patterns, the Greek fleet is always looking for the most practical solutions so that its fleet can satisfy global maritime needs and not work just within very limited green corridors.
Over the last twelve months, the G.S.C.C. has followed all the latest developments in maritime legislation pertaining to all the major issues of the day and is lobbying at the highest levels.
Primarily to protect our seafarers and equally importantly to give the benefit of our experience and knowledge to all the relevant organizations and Governments to bring about workable maritime solutions to all the issues we face.

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