Home » Maritime » Vessel layups remain the order of the day

IT seems the shipping industry has not seen the end of vessel layups.

“Carriers continue to have idle ships and have been very careful in deploying them, (a situation) which we hope continues in the near term at least. I hope some carriers have learned their lesson,” Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) president Patrick Ronas told PortCalls. Ronas, one of the participants at last week’s PortCalls Cargo Economics Conference, is referring to the frenzy of shipbuilding in the last few years which led to a capacity glut when the global economic crisis hit in 2008.

“We will continue to watch our cost in order to push for substantial gains for our shareholders… Though there have been drastic and dramatic cuts made, the results gained have been very marginal.”

He said while everyone would definitely like to see trade growing next year, “bulkier commodities that go by sea seem to be tapering off.”

Ronas added, “We would like to see electronics continue with their recovery as well as high-end garments. We also have the technology as far as foodstuff manufacturing is concerned but the problem is we tend to cater mostly to Filipinos overseas, thus limiting the products and players to only a few.”

Earlier, AISL said its members expected to finish the year strong but not return to pre-crisis levels in terms of volume and rates.

Year-on-year volume carried by AISL members is up 15% at the end of the third quarter but may slow down a bit for the last quarter.

The Maritime Industry Authority said while the tally of vessels parked in the country has gone down, those that are still here — including those scheduled for parking – remain significant in number, suggesting tepid recovery for the international shipping industry.

The Philippine Ports Authority recently projected a slowdown in growth for seafreight throughput next year, with foreign volume rising 2% compared to this year’s 7% projection, and domestic cargo volume inching up 1% from this year’s expected 5% growth.

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