Join BLUE and Norton Rose Fulbright to discuss challenges of vessel over-supply and sustainable scrapping and how to unlock opportunities

Vessel over-supply has long been accepted as one of the key challenges plaguing the maritime industry, blamed for driving everything from owners’ bankruptcies to the lack of investment…

Vessel over-supply has long been accepted as one of the key challenges plaguing the maritime industry, blamed for driving everything from owners’ bankruptcies to the lack of investment in emissions reduction. At Danish Maritime Days 2016, one of the core conclusions was to classify over-supply as a terminal market failure as opposed to the previously received wisdom that it was simply a product of cyclical shipping economics. This is a significant shift from accepted norms, but sensible given that the industry is approaching a decade of downturn and over-supply, since the 2008 global economic crash.

However, accepting this crippling market issue as something that will not simply disappear with time under current market dynamics poses a significant dilemma. How can the industry replace a broken market with a functioning one? How do we proactively and positively solve the issue of oversupply?

On 6th June 2017, BLUE will partner leading maritime law firm Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) to host a panel discussion and webinar that will explore these critical industry issues.

Attendees will include regulators, shipowners, shipyards, recycling experts, financiers and NGOs to debate and discuss ‘Unlocking the issue of over-supply and accelerating sustainable scrapping’.

Our panel includes Dr Martin Stopford, President, Clarkson Research Services, Michael Jürgen Werner, partner, Brussels, Norton Rose Fulbright, Gust Biesbroeck, Head of Transportation, ABN AMRO N.V., Dr Nikos Mikelis, independent consultant and non-executive director GMS, and Rick Power, senior manager – WSM Asia Green Recycling and IHM Services, Wilhelmsen Ship Management SDN BHD. Key questions that they’ll face include:

  • How big is the global gap between book value and market value?
  • Are financiers ‘cutting their nose to spite their face’ by holding onto indebted, unused assets?
  • Will banks re-aligning their books to reflect market value ever realistically happen?
  • Should scrapping be subsidised to trigger a rebalance?
  • What will be the impact of two concurrent pieces of ship recycling legislation; the Hong Kong Convention and the EU Ship Recycling Regulation?

The event aims to build on Danish Maritime Day’s stimulating discussion, which closely linked the strength, sustainability and capacity of the ship recycling market with finding an effective approach to the swift rebalancing of the world’s fleet towards profitable operation and viable freight rates.

That discussion concluded that recalibrating the fleet’s market value to reflect current market conditions and not the original cost of debt on the vessel would make lay-up strategies less attractive and accelerate the decision to scrap. Yet, how the ship recycling market is legislated and functioning directly affects how, when and where owners choose to sell end-of-life vessels to cash buyers – not simply the value and profitability of the vessel alone.

Under these conditions, the industry needs to work together to develop a market where scrapping older or obsolete vessels is desirable, the supply of new vessels is limited to projected requirements, and that recycling is enacted safely and with due care to the environment to ensure the whole vessel lifecycle is managed sustainably. No doubt easier said than done!

BLUE and NRF hope to initiate a debate which will set the wheels in motion for developing a strategy to right this corrosive issue, touching on everything from the gap between book and market value for vessels, scrapping subsidies and the potential clouds on the horizon for the Hong Kong Convention.

Our event is free to attend and will take place from 15.00 on Tuesday 6th June 2017 at Norton Rose Fulbright, 3 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AQ. To book your place to attend in person or via webinar, please click here.