Global Shipping Benchmarking Analysis

It has been a tough last couple of years for the world economy, global trade and the shipping industry. The markets have been particularly volatile and this has been reflected across the board, from commodity prices to freight rates, vessel values and bunker prices. Nevertheless, global trade in 2010 recovered to the same levels as in 2008 and as indicated by the results of our benchmarking analysis, the overall performance of shipping companies improved somewhat in 2010 compared to 2009.

This is not to say that the shipping industry is now on a safe path to recovery. There are many more challenges ahead and a significant amount of uncertainty in the markets and this is reflected in the 2011 half year results of shipping companies which have been worse than the same period in 2010.

In July 2011, Moody’s published a negative outlook for the shipping industry for the next 12 to 18 months, saying the business from container carriers to bulk operators is facing overcapacity. Tankers are also projected to have a rather difficult year in 2011 as full year forecasts for oil demand are revised downwards and more tankers are delivered in an already crowded market, driving some companies to place vessels in lay-up.

As in prior years this analysis looks at certain key performance indicators (KPIs) of more than 150 shipping companies from around the world. Financial data has been derived from financial statements from 2004 up to and including 2010. Our analysis covers both quantitative and qualitative information and gives insight into the recent challenges and drivers of the industry.