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Drewry counsels prudence

November 1 - Supply chain advisors Drewry says there has been remarkable turnaround in fortunes that has seen the shipping industry fight back from a huge first quarter loss to a tidy profit in the second quarter.

So does this mean that carriers are set once again to throw caution to the wind and to return another rates war? Drewry asks.

Taking a longer view helps to explain why lines are shedding staff and why they will continue to press hard for ever more rate increases at a time when the profits are finally rolling in again.

Drewery points out that the shipping industry has lost money in nine of the previous 18 quarters, resulting in a collective deficit of about USD2.6 billion, so carriers are unlikely to get carried away by a solitary period in the black.

Concluding that the short-term challenges of uncertain demand and a glut of new big ships arriving are certainly working against the industry, this all points to higher shipping costs in 2013, Drewry summarised.

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