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Opportunities, challenges and threats ahead for shipping in a changing landscape: DNV GL

Opportunities, challenges and threats ahead for shipping in a changing landscape: DNV GL
The global shipping market can expect to go through a changing landscape ahead in the way that the industry operates in view of the constant technological breakthroughs and innovation, according to Tor Svensen, group executive vice president of DNV GL.

There are opportunities and challenges, as well as threats, ahead for the shipping market. But if well-managed they can in fact bode well for the industry.

“One of the gamechangers for shipping is definitely oil prices,” Svensen told delegates at the Senior Maritime Forum of Marintec China 2015 on Wednesday. Lower oil prices mean bunker fuel costs are cut, oil transportation is boosted, but the offshore sector “has been hit very, very hard.”

And with oil prices going down, commodity prices have decreased as well, impacting mainly the dry bulk shipping market. China’s economy, which had been growing at double-digit percentage for a long time, is now growing at 5-6% and this growth will probably be the “new normal”, Svensen noted, and the impact on bulk shipping will be significant.

The new Panama Canal locks are also expected to increase the supply of tonnage and open up new trade opportunities, though it boils down to a question of fee.

Svensen also highlighted that green shipping will continue to be an ongoing trend, nothwithstanding the IMO global sulphur cap by 2020 or 2025.

On the other hand, cyber security is an area that needs to be put on the radar screen due to the potential for cyber attacks on ships, according to Svensen. “First there is a need to do some self checkings, and I also believe there is a role for standards and they need to be approached in a systematic way,” he said.

“In summing up, we are heading for some challenging years, and I think 2016 and 2017 will be challenging. We will see more consolidation, as well as better efficiency and cost control. It is also important to embrace new technologies and those who do will lead the pack on competitive advantage,” he said.