The impact of the low oil price on the maritime industry : with focus on dry bulk sector
Date of Issue2016-05-16
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
This paper aims to investigate the impact of low oil price to the maritime industry after the oil price crash in the middle of 2014, with a focus on the dry bulk sector. The measures taken by individual companies to handle the situation are discussed as well. We chose this topic because it is very practical and relevant to the current market, and we would like to approach a wide range of industrial professionals to learn from their insights and expertise. The research methods are in-depth interviews, mass surveys, news research and market reports analysis. The interviewees and survey participants are all experienced dry bulk industry professionals, ranging from the ship owners, operators, brokers to other stakeholders. A total of 89 responses to the survey was received, with 31 from the dry bulk sector. Their insights and market knowledge are consolidated and discussed together in this paper. The survey and interview results show that the lower oil price leads to lower bunker costs for shipping companies. However, the benefits of costs saved are mostly all passed down to the end users, while the ship owners and operators are struggling in the market with severe oversupply issue and the challenge of the record low freight rate. Besides, ship brokers are also affected in terms of the lower commission and less business volume. To handle the situation, various cost- cutting strategies have been emphasized by the majority of the companies, including bunker costs, operational costs, and capital costs. Furthermore, financing strategies such as renegotiation of loan terms, deferred dividend payments were adopted. Moreover, ship owners have adjusted their fleet management strategies to improve liquidity and limit exposure. Looking forward, the outlook for oil price is discussed. Besides, some governmental involvements are proposed to help shipping companies, and their feasibility and possible outcomes are discussed. We hope this research can give a broad overview of the dry bulk shipping companies under the pressure of low oil price. Although the current dry bulk shipping market down is not mainly due to the oil price, we hope to provide some insights to help the shipping companies be better prepared for the next market downturn in future. Further research can analyze the different types of dry bulk carriers separately, namely, Handysize, Supramax, Panamax and Capesize, so that more detailed results could be achieved. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the measures adopted could be verified from the companies’ financial results after a few years’ time.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University