Confidence in the shipping industry rose to its highest level for 18 months in the last quarter of 2019, according to BDO’s confidence survey.

Richard Greiner.
The average confidence level expressed by respondents to the survey was 6.4 out of 10, compared to 5.8 in the third quarter of the year. This is the highest rating since the same level of confidence was recorded in May 2018.

The likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the coming year was unchanged from the last survey at 5.5 out of 10.

Richard Greiner, partner, shipping and transport at BDO, said: “It is not far short of six years since confidence in the industry has been higher, and appetite for investment remains steady despite volatile economic conditions. This is despite general ongoing geopolitical uncertainty, and notwithstanding specific concerns about a variety of issues including Brexit and President Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

“Shipping is not for the faint hearted, and committed long-term players remain the most likely to achieve the best returns. Our latest survey revealed an increased expectation over the next 12 months of dearer finance costs. Such costs remain one of the most significant performance-influencing factors for our respondents.

“But the cost of regulatory compliance is slowly gaining in importance, and will continue to do so. IMO 2020 was recently categorised by one commentator as a ‘perfect storm’ for litigators. It is also part of a much larger commitment by the shipping industry to enhancing its green credentials, and in the process becoming a more technologically advanced and environmentally responsible sector. As such, it should be eminently attractive to investors.”