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Friday, April 03, 2009

Shipping industry likely to see revival in 6 months

Friday, 03 April 2009

Shipping industry may see a revival in the next six months as the clouds of slowdown enveloping the global economy are expected to dissipate to some extent by then. With the revival of the financial sector, the commodities markets will also pick up. This would have a positive impact on the freight market, said Mr S. Hajara, Chairman and Managing Director, Shipping Corporation of India.
A marginal recovery has already started. The Baltic dry index, which had fallen from 11,700 in May 2008 to a low of 660 in November 2008, has moved up to around 1700, said Mr Hajara.
The financial crisis has affected the dry bulk sector the most, which registered a dip of around 90-95 per cent. However, it is now on the path to marginal recovery, he said.
In comparison, the tanker freight rates have only fallen by 20-30 per cent.
Explaining the situation in the Indian job market, Mr Hajara said that the Indian shipping industry is relatively isolated as the demand for seafarers has always exceeded the supply. As a result, there have not been many job losses in the sector, he said.
He was speaking on the occasion of the 46th National Maritime Day celebrations.
There are around one lakh active Indian seafarers, of whom 40,000 are at the officer level, he said.
Referring to the shortage of funds for ship acquisition, Mr Hajara said the external commercial borrowings route had dried up. The shipping industry is looking for alternative sources of funding, he said.
A request was made to the Government to announce a special package for the industry. Among the measures, a war chest of Rs 10,000 crore was demanded by the industry, Mr Hajara said
“The Shipping Ministry has taken up the issue with the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister and we are awaiting a decision,” he said.
Source: Hindu Business Line