Mr. Greiner said that shipping confidence has reduced slightly, but before that a four-year high was recorded in first-half 2018. This means that there is still an appetite to invest in the shipping industry, something that will continues in 2019, if the sector meets its ESG responsibilities.
Current and upcoming regulations, such as the 2020 sulphur cap and the ballast water management regulations, indicate that the industry is on the right path, Mr. Greiner added. However, new funds are necessary, as going green will cost. 2019 will be crucial as depending on the investments to comply with the new environmental regulations, the sector will have a better picture of whether the necessary drydocking capacity exists.
In addition, more challenges as expected as well. Specifically, operating costs will probably rise, while tonnage imbalances will continue in some trades. What is more, Mr. Greiner mentions that the Baltic Dry Index may behave less erratically, while a significant factor will be Brexit. Brexit may lead to several developments, but could be positive for the UK shipping. In addition, new lease accounting standards will cause some changes, with the effect of geopolitical influences to still affecting trade throughout 2019.
Nevertheless, there is still much volatility, as many elections are expected this year, while the trade war between the US and China is ongoing. This means that uncertainty will remain during 2019, Richard Greiner concludes.