Shipping is the unsung hero and loyal servant of world trade and plays a pivotal role in facilitating many economic activities. Few industries, businesses and consumers are not touched, infl uenced or aff ected by shipping, by virtue of the fact that 95% of global trade is carried through seaborne means. Ships of all types and sizes carry a stunning range of cargoes across great distances, and facilitate a slew of economic acti viti es, such as offshore energy explorati on and producti on, marine tourism, and fi sheries and port operations, to name but a few.
The shipping industry is undergoing turbulence arising from low demand for new vessels, overcapacity of new ships, low freight rates and tight financing. This situation – which has characterized the industry for almost a decade since the global financial crisis began – is against the backdrop of slow growth in world trade and a sharp cutback of activities by off shore oil and gas companies amid low oil prices. Ship owners, shipyards and a host of support service providers are facing a torrid time from low demand for shipping.