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Changing political scene in US and Europe poses a threat to shipping

The changing political scene on both sides of the Atlantic pose major threats to the shipping industry, warns the influential London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC).

Spreading radicalism “mainly in Europe” and America’s “continuing tariff policy” is creating an environment which is making it “ever more difficult for the global shipping industry to go about its daily task not knowing if it can trade with every country all the time”, said GSCC chairman, Haralambos J Fafalios, in his introduction to the GSCC’s 84th annual report, presented in London, 20 June.

“The traditional political groups in many European countries seem to be replaced by more extreme elements and this may lead to great instability in the future,” said Fafalios.

Further, Fafalios said “America's continuing policy of tariff wars against more and more nations is creating an environment of great uncertainty and volatility in world trade”. He said that while “in some cases this could be positive by generating greater ton-mile demand, but in general is negative”.

“Fear that doing business today leads to joining a trade blacklist tomorrow cannot help matters,” said Fafalios. He said while such concerns have yet to materialise, “at least on a large scale” the overall effect will be negative.

However, while shipping maybe walking a tightrope, Fafalios said Greek shipping continues to preserve its leading role in market share in the dry bulk, tanker, container, car carrier and gas carrier sectors through newbuildings and modern second-hand purchases whilst deleting older, less efficient vessels.

“In this process, the Greek fleet is still younger compared to the average world fleet age, more technically sophisticated and most of all, incorporating all the latest environmental measures to make it overall the greenest fleet for its size,” said the GSCC chairman.

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