Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping


Attend any given conference on shipping, particularly maritime finance, and you will hear, and see, many presentations, accompanied by PowerPoint, predicting a recovery some time in 2013. Read some articles in the trade press, and you will learn that “cash-rich Greek shipowners” are heavily invested in second-hand and newbuilding-resale purchases, notwithstanding ominous economic and market signs. Continue reading

Prosperity is not around the corner.

My eye was caught by a recent article: “Tanker Sector May Be Over the Worst”, quoting a Norwegian bank’s analysis that the tanker market, including VLCCs, suezmaxes, aframaxes, panamaxes and medium range clean product tankers, has bottomed out. Continue reading

The Greeks have a word for it……

“Cataclysm” is, like most words of its type, of Greek derivation. A Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, told us nearly 2,500 years ago that one thing above all was certain: “all things change”. Continue reading

Worse to come for shipping

The true state of the world economy was shown on August 1, with the release by JPMorgan of a series of indicators making up the global manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices (PMI). Continue reading

What do oil spills, piracy and the Greek crisis have in common?

There are at least three “received truths”, as one of my college professors sarcastically called them, that, in the world of shipping, may be open to challenge. One is that last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion had nothing to do with the rest of the shipping industry, being only about wells and rigs — and not ships Continue reading

A logistical bridge over troubled waters

Sometimes, great events reveal important facts. Logistics, also known as the supply chain, is more and more important on reliable carriage of goods by sea. Continue reading

Flexibility is vital for future ship design

A memorable description of how a ship is planned, designed and built is in “The Building of the Ship”, written by a poet named Longfellow in the late 1840s: Continue reading

Decisions, decisions…..

I know a shipowner who is fond of observing: “I have never had difficulty making decisions. Or mistakes.” As all shipowners know, regulatory requirements change. So does the market. Continue reading

A chill wind on the Akti Miaouli

I have referred to the effect of Greece’s current agonies on its maritime sector. Not least, the crisis’ impact threatens the continued viability of what cognoscenti (lawyers, Greek shipowners and parliamentarians) call Law 89.

This dandy ordinance was the brain child of some famous shipping tycoons in the 1950s., names available on request.

Essentially, it provides for a broad exemption from tax for a “Law 89” company, which is essentially one engaged in the shipping business.

Obviously, tax breaks for the elite, certainly including shipowners, will now come under scrutiny.

Greece’s current Pasok (Socialist Party) government is under growing pressure to soak the rich, and this includes repeal of Law 89 and other
so-called incentives.

Word on the Akti Miaouli (the famed street of maritime… Continue reading

Trouble looms large

Over the past several days, it has become clear that the European
powers that be have failed to
avert the economic disaster that
has lain in our path like a massive improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

The conference that I’m speaking at, Mare Forum, holds a session in Italy each year.

This one is entitled “Optimism in the Air”. The headlines, however, say “Banks Brace For Spread of Europe’s Credit Crisis”.

What is now happening is that nobody really knows what’s happening. We do, however, realise that our lack of information about which European banks are vulnerable to sovereign debt problems, and therefore defaults on government bonds, means that virtually all lenders, including those to shipowners, will stop making short-term loans to one another.

This very likely will lead to a second freeze… Continue reading

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