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From the CSA President

Reasons for optimism after a tough year

david jean marieHaving been re-elected to continue serving you as President, kindly allow me to say thanks to the members of the CSA, the General Council, our affiliates and partners for your support and confidence.

I offer you best wishes and hopes for success in 2017 and I look forward to working with you throughout the year to steward the growth and development of our regional shipping industry.

As 2016 ended, many of us ruminated on what was a difficult business year. Demand trends, fierce competition and oversupply of tonnage were among the negative factors affecting the performance of the global shipping industry. We here in the Caribbean were not immune as the level of uncertainty about the future of our sector, and indeed the global economy, took its toll. That uncertainty, as we well know, is related to a variety of industry-specific issues as well as geopolitical factors ranging from the UK referendum on EU membership – so-called Brexit – to the comparative slowdown in the Chinese economy.

Our sector took serious body blows in 2016 characterized by super mergers and the bankruptcy of one global carrier. Container lines suffered from some of the worst conditions the industry has ever endured, largely because of the delivery of brand-new ultra-large vessels at a time when trade growth is low. The huge capacity supply and demand imbalances caused freight rates to drop to record levels and South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co to collapse in August.

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