Not just deepsea shipping got a shot in the arm during the pandemic – European shortsea shipping as well. With the orderbook as small as it is, Christina Bjørneli, chartering broker with Norbroker Shipping & Trading AS in Flekkefjord/Norway, projects freights and vessel earnings to remain elevated[ds_preview]
The shortsea dry cargo market keeps rallying to new highs ahead of Xmas. What’s the outlook for 2022?
Christina Bjørneli: I expect the market to be more or less the same as last autumn, maybe down maximum 10–15% but no more. There is no new tonnage entering the market, so the outlook is firm for the next two or three years.
What was the impact of corona and its ripple effects on the shortsea sector?
Bjørneli: The shortsea shipping market was really down during summer 2020 following the lockdowns. This in combination with heightened uncertainty due to corona and stricter provisions on ballast water treatment caused many shipowners to sell vessels to owners in the Mediterranean. As a consequence we now have fewer vessels trading on the continent. Further, during spring we saw delays in loading/discharging in ports especially in the UK which also had an impact on the market. Conversely, cargo flows were boosted in some segments such as timber as people rushed to fix up their houses and cabins during the pandemic.
Decarbonisation is rapidly moving up the agenda. Are there more opportunities for alternative propulsion/fuel concepts?
Bjørneli: It will still take two or three more years for new main engine types to enter the market. This will be a big change for the industry. There will be a gradual shift in propulsion systems from now over into the next decade but we don’t have the answer yet as to what alternatives will be the most efficient and eco-friendliest. Most likely it will be amonium and/or hydrogen or in some places LNG. (mph)