MOORE Stephens, an accountant and shipper adviser, expects optimism to outweigh pessimism in the shipping industry during 2018.
In its latest newsletter for the shipping industry, 'Bottom Line,' Moore Stephens partner Richard Greiner wrote: 'Overall industry confidence hit a three-year high in 2017. Oil prices reached a three-year peak while there was a 50 per cent rise in the Baltic Dry Index over a six-month period in the second half of 2017.'
Mr Stephens highlighted that finance was available from within and outside the industry. Some sanity returned to the newbuilding orderbooks and charterers in particular displayed an appetite for new investment, reported London's Tanker Operator.
'In 2018, freight rates will harden if there is a further reduction in tonnage overcapacity and an acceleration in ship demolition. Money will still be available for the right investment. Shipping will continue to be impacted by geopolitical uncertainty, which could be influenced in either a positive or negative way by elections in Brazil, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, Russia and elsewhere.
'US interest rates will most likely go up over the coming 12 months and the implications of new accounting standards will start to bite. Smart technology will assume increasing importance, adding value and improving safety but putting pressure on R&D budgets,' said Mr Stephens.
Doubts will persist over the sufficiency of low-sulphur fuel, and gas will become an increasingly attractive option for powering new and converted tonnage as the price of oil recovers, he added.