February 24 - Speaking at a recent Journal of Commerce webinar this week, Susan Oatway, associate director of Drewry Maritime Research, outlined some of the challenges, which still face the multipurpose and heavy lift shipping sector.

Oatway explained how the market is still facing unsustainable freight rates, with oil prices that do not encourage speculative projects in the oil and gas sector.

She noted that the sector is still dominated by overcapacity and competition from other sectors of the shipping industry.

Political and economic uncertainty in many countries is also seen as a reason for the lack of confidence that a serious recovery is likely any time soon.

But, Oatway did agree that the consolidation that took hold last year is almost certain to continue in 2017 as companies merge in various joint venture arrangements, or acquire fellow lines. She did not rule out the possibility of further bankruptcies.

Cost cutting is at the heart of the mergers, but it is unlikely to cure the overcapacity, which leaves Oatway erring on the side of caution in regards to any signs of real optimism for the sector.

A full recap of the webinar can be seen here.