BLUE Insight, hosted its inaugural webinar with Jan Christensen Senior Director Purchasing and Supply, Hapag Lloyd, and Charlotte Røjgaard, Global Head, Verifuel, Bureau Veritas, joining Adrian Tolson, Director, Lead, BLUE Insight, picking out the current winners and losers in the world of post IMO2020 implementation, and the onset of COVID-19.
Despite several sectors of the maritime industry being severely impacted by port closures and falls in demand caused by the pandemic, the panel - as part of BLUE Insight’s Talkback Webinar Series, in late April – agreed that the tanker market is thriving, and an outlier amid COVID-19.
“The sector everyone is talking about at the moment is tankers, as they’ll be getting bonuses at the end of the year while the rest of the industry is undergoing a recession,” joked Tolson.
Tolson said that the current oversupply of crude oil and other fuel products led by Saudi Arabia and the other members of OPEC married with severely diminished demand brought on by the COVID-19 crisis had triggered a chain of events that caused tanker rates to rise astronomically.
However, other maritime sectors have been less lucky. “Unlike previous crises, which predominantly affected local and regional markets, this crisis affects all markets globally,” said Jan Christensen. “As a container company our response is to reduce costs and lower capacity by cancelling and changing frequency of sailings it affects our bunker demand.”
Tolson did add a footnote for the tanker market, adding he was unsure how long the oversupply of crude oil and products will continue for, and therefore how long this boom would last. For now, he said, it’s a ‘waiting game’ to see when production will get back into balance with supply. However, at least for the next 6-12 months there will continue to be reduced economic activity that impact crude oil and affiliated products such as VLSFO, HFO and distillates.
The bulk sector has also been affected closures of steel and other industrial plants in China, as well as severe decreases in iron ore and copper production in Brazil due to the lockdowns imposed by governments as countermeasures to the virus, the panel added.
The cruise industry has arguably been one of the hardest hit by the economic impact of the pandemic. Currently at a standstill, the sector has had several high-profile incidents of COVID-19 outbreaks.
BLUE Insight specialises in providing strategic advisory and implementation services for business-critical areas that are fundamental to the marine and energy markets.