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Drewry's Healey sees Covid-19 downturn stretching to 5 years

OCEAN carriers face the prospect of cutting capacity by scrapping if the Covid crisis downturn persists, says London consultancy Drewry

13 August 2020 - 19:00

OCEAN carriers face the prospect of cutting capacity by scrapping if the Covid crisis downturn persists, says London consultancy Drewry.

'The band-aid of blank sailings won't cut it,' Drewry research manager Simon Healey told a recent webinare.



Mr Healey saw a downturn stretching to five years that would see a 'withdrawal of capacity on a more permanent basis, demolition ramp-up, and an end to newbuilds.'



The capacity cuts, which saw about 10 per cent of the container ship fleet idled in May and June, according to Drewry, have helped support freight rates.



As a result, Drewry's head of research, Martin Dixon, told the webinar that carriers are on course to make operation profits of US$9 billion this year, 'which is a complete reversal of the $4 billion deficit' forecast in March.



Mr Dixon said 2021 would be another strong year, with carriers forecast to generate operating profits of $7 billion against the $3 billion forecast in March, although that is 'predicated on carriers holding on to the gains' seen this year.



Mr Dixon thought freight rates could soften in the second half of this year, with an overall three per cent gain in rates, as carriers found it more challenging to match capacity to recovering demand.



The capacity cuts, which saw about 10 per cent of the containership fleet idled in May and June, according to Drewry, have helped support freight rates.


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