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Ship agents wary over 2009/10 prospects

MEMBERS of the Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA) expect to see red ink for 2009 and possibly 2010.

Philippine Ship Agents Association (PSAA) president Abraham Tablizo, who recently attended the 40th anniversary of FONASBA in Cape Town, South Africa, said the overall sentiment of members is not encouraging for this year and next.

PSAA is a new member of London-headquartered FONASBA.

Tablizo said the global economic crisis has thrown a monkey wrench on plans of all shipping sectors, with no one having any idea as to when the crisis will stop.

“The industry is taking it a year at a time and we are looking at 2010 to be as tough as this year,” Tablizo told PortCalls.

“With the price of oil again on the uptrend, we expect this will take its toll on the shipping industry by next year,” he added.

“Aside from the containerized market, the bulk and breakbulk markets, including the tanker industry, have also posted losses and are not doing well compared to the early part of the year,” he said.

Tablizo noted ship owners are also continuing to cancel or delay deliveries of newbuildings until the effects of the crisis have tapered off.

Latest FONASBA data showed 525 liners equivalent to about 1.2 million TEUs have so far been laid-up, and the number is expected to swell further as more principals decide to further reduce the number of vessels plying the international trade.

New orders have gone down 40.2% against last year, pointing to prolonged effects of the crisis on international shipping.

FONASBA members and their principals are looking at increasing charter rates, claiming these have plummeted more than 50% from last year.

Over 100 delegates and partners made the trip to Cape Town for the association’s 40th anniversary, including representatives of all but one of the members that founded the federation in April 1969.

From its start as a mainly European organization comprising eleven national associations, FONASBA members today cover 45 countries, representing 46% of the world’s population and 76% of global gross domestic product.

These figures were considerably enhanced with the election to membership, just before the meeting, of the China Association of Shipping Agencies and Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers and the PSAA.

FONASBA’s mission is to “promote and protect the professions of ship agency and ship broking worldwide”, a task which it undertakes through dialogue with its member associations and its consultative status with the International Maritime Organization, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and the World Customs Organization, as well as through close and regular dialogue with the European Commission and other regional bodies.

FONASBA also enjoys reciprocal memberships with the Baltic Exchange, Baltic and International Maritime Council, International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, indemnity insurer International Transport Intermediaries Club Ltd and the Shipbrokers’ Register and works closely with other bodies, both internationally and in Europe.


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