Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
London & South East Branch

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ICS London and South-East Branch - Chaiman's Report

1ST JUNE 2020 – 31ST MAY 2021

This has been a challenging year due to Covid-19 as the Government imposed restrictions on people travelling to work or travelling, attending work, or meeting face to face or even socializing. These restrictions severely impacted upon the branch, as we have been forced to reduce our activities and cancel some events. 

However, London and South-East branch have managed to continue functioning through online meetings. We are indebted to Head office, Jeffrey Blum, and Jonathan Marks for their support in hosting and assisting with the online challenges of setting up and managing these meetings.

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A useful shipping market analysis

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 3 July 2021
The latest edition of a regular half-yearly review of the global shipping market was published a few weeks ago by Danish Ship Finance and can be accessed free of charge on this company’s website.
The authoritative content of the DSF’s Shipping Market Review is a valuable resource for Institute students and members alike.
Topics analysed in the Review include demand, supply, and market changes in the container, dry bulk, crude tanker, products tanker, LPG and shipbuilding sectors. Each section contains an analysis of recent trends and what influenced these, accompanied by some thoughts on what could happen in the next twelve to eighteen months.

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The coal trade conundrum

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 25 May 2021
A dark cloud overshadows the bulk carrier market. Looking ahead up to the end of the decade and beyond, prospects for global seaborne coal trade are not good.
This outlook is especially significant because of the huge volume traded annually. Coal comprises well over 20% of all international dry bulk commodity movements, and therefore contributes a large proportion of employment for the world bulk carrier fleet.
Environmental influences gaining momentum in many countries are driving coal usage downwards. The negative impact on import demand is visible. Last year, the effects were exacerbated by the pandemic which reduced energy consumption around the world.
Yet it is still not clear when a longer-term downwards trend in coal trade is likely to start, or how rapid it may prove. In the meantime, a number of forecasters agree that there is potential for at least a partial recovery in the annual trade volume during 2021, perhaps a 4-5% increase.

Flag states under the spotlight

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 12 February 2021
At the end of January the International Chamber of Shipping published an updated 2020/21 edition of its Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table. This annual survey aims to give an overview of how ship registry countries are meeting various standards which are signs of a flag’s quality, and therefore value to shipowners.
The survey covers aspects such as port state control records, ratification of international conventions, and attendance at International Maritime Organization meetings. Data in the latest edition is the most up-to-date available as of January 2021.
As emphasised by this information, there is a wide range of performance among the many flag states participating in the global shipping industry. The Chamber comments that “the level of performance of many of the largest flag states – including Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore as well as the Bahamas and Cyprus – continues to be very positive”. 

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China's Grain and Soya Imports Upsurge

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 17 November 2020
China is the world's largest importer in the grain and soya segment of the bulk carrier market, with about 20% of the total. Imports are mainly long-haul from the Americas, also from Black Sea and elsewhere, greatly benefiting bulk carrier demand. Over the past decade Chinese buyers' have mostly increased their soyabeans volumes but, currently, signs of large extra tonnages of grain, especially corn and also wheat, barley and sorghum are prominent.

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How fast is the fleet growing?

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 24 September 2021
An important influence has been helping the global shipping industry to move towards a better balance between demand and supply. Fleet expansion has tended to be more controlled than seen in some previous market phases. This feature has been reflected in higher freight rates in several sectors.
But perceptions vary and, occasionally, discordant observations are made. For example, during the recent London International Shipping Week a leading shipowner stated publicly that growth in the bulk carrier fleet has almost ceased. Is that correct? A close look at the statistics suggests otherwise, and the difference between the ‘stories’ is quite large.

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Fuelling the decarbonisation debate

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 19 May 2021
More heat was generated last month in the debate about decarbonising shipping when an authoritative report on the topic was published. Experts at the World Bank expressed doubts about how much liquefied natural gas as a marine fuel could contribute to the transition.
The published summary of the World Bank’s report provides a useful and readable overview of the wider maritime decarbonisation story. But a controversial aspect was its suggestion that LNG “is estimated to play a rather limited role in the transition towards low- and zero-carbon shipping, being mostly used in niche applications”. 

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Attracting talent to maritime employment

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 26 March 2021
After a year of pandemic, are there any changes in employers’ views which could make jobs in the maritime sector more appealing? In particular, what changes in recruitment policies could increase the attractiveness of shore-based employment?
Several weeks ago ship management company V.Group published a paper entitled Attracting talent to the maritime industry. This paper looks at how the pandemic has affected recruitment, focusing on both onshore and seafarer categories.

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What will be the pandemic’s maritime legacy?

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 4 December 2020
Three weeks ago the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published its annual maritime report. Entitled Review of Maritime Transport 2020, this valuable document can be downloaded free from the organisation’s website. It contains the usual revealing chapters analysing international seaborne trade, port traffic, the global fleet of ships and the supply of shipping services, as well as legal and regulatory aspects.

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Problems ahead for ship operators

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 23 October 2020
Numerous problems facing ship operators in the years ahead are visible, now overlaid by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. An informative discussion and analysis of the various challenges has just been published.
On 1 October the International Chamber of Shipping published its Annual Review 2020, with a cover sub-title of ‘Heroes at Sea’. The Chamber describes itself as the principal global association for shipowners, focusing on regulatory, operational, legal and employment matters. Members are national shipowners’ associations from 37 countries.

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