December 16 - According to a report in Reuters, bankers have suggested that the global shipping industry will hit a credit crunch if proposed new bank capital rules are implemented in a sector already weighed down by toxic debt.

The report states that the Basel Committee of banking supervisors met last month in an effort to complete the new rules for lenders in the world's major financial centres, and is now trying to pin down the details.

While the rules do not target shipping specifically, some of the biggest rises in requirements under the proposed regulation are likely to be in the models banks use to decide how much capital to set aside when they lend to shippers.

Regulators are believed to be working to soften proposals after fears that EU might threaten to boycott the proposed rules, due to concern over big increases in capital requirements that would throttle credit.

With the global shipping industry suffering one of its worst slumps in history, many banks are struggling to retrieve their shipping loans, and we have already seen a number of banks pull support for multipurpose shipowners as lenders look to scale back exposure.

The new proposals are expected to pile even more pressure on banks with large exposures to shipping, suggested industry sources.

In November German state bank Nord/LB revealed an eye-watering loss of EUR1 billion, attributing the decline to the cost of risks within its shipping loan book.

Reuters also reported later in November that another German bank - HSH Nordbank - had been meeting with potential buyers ahead of its planned privatisation next year.

HLPFI will be focusing on shipping and finance trends in its industry outlook in the January/February 2017 edition of the magazine. If you have any comments on the above or would like to contribute to the article, please contact us at