It’s a new year, but the same challenges remain: unsustainable freight rates; oil prices that are unsupportive of oil and gas projects; overcapacity in this and competing sectors; and political and economic uncertainty in too many countries for comfort. You would be forgiven for wondering if you are reading the outlook for 2014, 2015 or 2016, rather than one for 2017.
But there has been one important change that could finally lift the breakbulk and project cargo sector out of the doldrums in 2017: the urgently needed consolidation that many predicted finally found its teeth in 2016. We saw births, deaths and marriages as companies came together in new joint ventures aimed at controlling costs, while others finally raised the white flag and bowed out of the industry once and for all.
Overcapacity has been a bugbear of the industry for many years, and while the consolidation at an owner level will not necessarily fix that particular problem, new regulations promise to draw some of the pus out of that wound.
That more than one of the contributors to this year’s Breakbulk outlook feature spoke of silver livings and pockets of growth adds to the cautious air of optimism. But no one is gushing about recovery – tempered and measured sums up the overall feeling, both adjectives the industry should be using in spades in 2017 if any of that longed-for recovery is to stick.
Click the images below to read the outlooks for 2017.
Lead image via Shutterstock; edited by Catherine Dorrough.
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