Barry Parker

Barry Parker

New York correspondent, Seatrade Maritime

Barry Parker is a New York-based maritime specialist and writer, associated with Seatrade since 1980. His early work was in drybulk chartering, and in the early 1990s he moved into shipping finance where he served as a deal-maker and analyst with a leading maritime merchant bank. Since the late 1990s he has worked for a group of select clients on various maritime projects, also remaining active as a writer.

Seatrade Maritime News readers may remember the moans and groans of shipowners, at the time of OW’s final ascent to its watery grave, who implored, “Who should we pay? We have multiple folks asking us for money.”

The tide has now shifted now shifted for US LNG exports resulting in a reshaping of global shipping flows.

NYSHEX, the New York Shipping Exchange, has attracted plenty of investor, industry and media interest but is it really managing to make sense of what ceo Gordon Downes describes as a chaotic marketplace.

At a cocktail party full of designers of coastal abodes and art types, I met a decorator from Jacksonville, Florida, when I explained that I was in the maritime business, she immediately asked me, “What do you think about that ship - the one that sank in a hurricane? It had sailed from Jacksonville, you know.” The vessel, of course, was the El Faro, the 1975- built steam-powered ro-ro/ container carrier which met its tragic end in October 2015, resulting in the deaths of all 33 men and women aboard. 

Shipowners and commodity traders are now digesting the impacts of President Donald Trump’s widely anticipated announcement that the US would pull out of the six nation accord reached with Iran in 2015. The 2015 agreement with Iran- officially the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA), with the European Union also a participant, saw a rigorous regime of economic sanctions against Iran rolled back.

Everyone is talking about blockchain but explaining what it actually does to the average shipping or legal person is a rather more challenging task. Holland & Knight lawyer K. Blythe Daly likened blockchain to a series of transactions linked together in the manner of Lego building blocks in a presentation to the Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA).

Tariffs, or rather the prospect of trade disruptions because of them, are “rocking the boat” in a big way.

The US Congress agreed, finally, and President Donald Trump signed, surprisingly to some observers, an Omnibus Spending Bill, which consolidates the Federal budget, and will keep the US government funded until Q3 of this year.

So what are the game changers for the maritime industry as shipping faces up to digitalisation and the 0.5% sulphur cap.

How shipping can utilise big data to avoid yet further commodisation of its service and improve safety of operations was a topic panelists at grappled with at the Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) conference last week.

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