Shipowners Forum Singapore 2024

9 May 2024

Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore

How is disruption reshaping shipping and earnings?

From the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic at the start of the decade, through the Russian invasion of Ukraine and now Houthi attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea, global events have become so tumultuous and unpredictable in the 2020s that it has now become a truism to talk about extreme volatility in shipping markets. Perhaps the question for 2024 would be – is this constant unrest quite as detrimental to the industry’s profitability as first feared? With a relatively robust coal and iron ore trade softening the pressure on the dry bulk sector, strong fundamentals for tankers, and even a container sector worried about overcapacity benefiting from the rerouting of trade flows, we could conclude that shipping markets have demonstrated genuine adeptness and skill in navigating these choppy waters and settling on new trading equilibriums to help stay on course. Yet the constant uncertainty still has the potential to significantly and suddenly exacerbate the challenges already facing the sector. How are business models and strategies formulating in a decade where constant unpredictability appears predictable? What has the industry done right to underpin its adaptability and resilience to external forces? How could complacency be avoided – and what are the core opportunities and challenges that could come next?  

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