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The year of the snake

The year of the snake
As we approach Chinese New Year the rain is cascading down outside my office window – as it seems to have been every day since sometime last September. Now while this may be annoying getting wet every day as anyone who has a attended a ship name in this part of the world in the pouring rain will know it is taken by the owners as a positive sign of showers of blessings.  

The zodiac sign for this year is the snake, which combines the element water, and this, at least according to some, offers good fortune to shipping and maritime, as they are businesses related to water.

At the start of this year Koichi Muto, ceo of Mitsui OSK Lines, said: “The snake is supposed to bring good economic fortune as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Since I was born in the year of the snake, I hope to bring in some of this good fortune.” The company’s recent third quarter results and revised annual forecast would seem to imply this is not working for Muto as well as he might have hoped.

We are not sure which astrological sign Cosco’s Wei Jiafu was born under but he does not seem to be having much luck either at the moment. Just a few years ago he was considered one of the most powerful men in China. Now even having decided to take no salary last year at Cosco Wei faces the possibility of minority shareholders trying to remove him as chairman as the company struggles with massive losses.

Will the water snake bring wealth and good fortune to shipping in 2013?  I will leave that question to the geomancers. Although I would like to think it true it will be a good year for shipping the market fundamentals point to a less than positive 12 months ahead.

However, might I suggest that company that can move quickly and stealthily like a snake will have the upper hand in what is sure to another interesting year for the shipping industry.

Gong Xi Fa Cai

TAGS: Dispatches
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