After vol. 1 of this ‘shipping industry as a Christmas party’ blog…the party is in full swing; Secret Santa gifts have been exchanged and the drinks are flowing…
Gas: Even the all-night gas party may have to turn the volume down in this environment. Oil might start to win a few dance partners back from the good-looking gas guys and gals on the dance floor, at least for the duration of a few songs. To be fair, those in the LPG sector might have caught VIP taxis to the after-party party already, but having ordered rather a lot of ships lately, the LNG dancers might not have received their invitations. Still, with major liquefaction projects guaranteed in a few years' time, they probably still have champagne on ice.
China: Still the biggest dude at the party. Expected to account for 36% of the growth in seaborne imports, with its fellow partygoers India at 10% and the rest of Asia at 21%. The dry bulk folk at the party looked like waiters buzzing around the Chinese guests. Just one more wafer thin mint sir?!
Finance: Well it's nice to see the lending banks back at the party. They're a quiet bunch so they're chatting in the kitchen. The private equity gate-crashers are in the back garden smoking fags and talking about fast cars, but they haven't left yet, and the capital market boys and girls are being chatted up by some of the shipowners in the room.
Recruitment: Well, it's all about people right? There would be no Christmas party without people chatting in the kitchen, the confident ones out on the dance floor and someone crying in the corner. With the world fleet growing at just under 4% per year and tonnage-requirement growth to 2026 anticipated at 4.3% annually across all sectors , alongside anticipated annual growth in seaborne trade demand of 3-4%, we will continue to need more people. At the moment though there is very close focus on cost control and, as Moore Stephens Confidence Index shows, a bit of a slump in sentiment. When this happens, as we have seen many times before, employers tend to want to interview one or two more people per vacancy, take a bit longer to decide before making offers and get those offers signed off by someone higher up the chain. At least that means the boss takes the rap if it all goes wrong!
2014 hasn’t been one huge party for shipping – at times we’ve wondered if the invite will ever come, but now we’re at the end of the year we can look back and say that we had a great time – but next year’s will surely be even better…