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Anticipating market change is crucial as industry demands increase

(left to right) James a'Beckett, Head of Dry Cargo Broking Braemar ACM; Denis Petropoulos, President Braemar Group Asia; and Peter Ryan, Head of Consultancy Braemar Incorporating the Salvage Association.

20 April 2016

Being in a position to accurately anticipate change in the shipping markets is becoming ever more crucial for maritime service providers, as owning principals demand more solutions to the problems created by over-ordering, according to Braemar Group Asia President Denis Petropoulos.

Speaking at a press conference during Singapore Maritime Week, Mr Petropoulos said this need for in-depth industry knowledge and experience in understanding how to deal with market downturns means that shipping service clusters like Singapore would find themselves in a strong position when the times start to improve.

“Owners and charterers rely on these services more when the markets are poor but being able to anticipate when and how the markets will change and being able to avoid the mistakes of the past is becoming ever more important,” he told reporters.

“It is not so much what lessons have been learned, but understanding what will be needed for the industry to emerge from a crisis. Costs savings are available and the industry has been saving costs for years but compromising quality is not an option. We may start to see more levels of consolidation emerge where operators consolidate their services and cut away their own excess so they are in a stronger position to survive and flourish when the markets improve,” he added.

James A’Beckett Braemar ACM’s head of dry cargo broking and based in Melbourne stated: “The dry cargo volumes being transacted are actually growing but the oversupply in the fleet had brought rates below OpEx (operating expenses); owners cannot operate below costs for long and already we are seeing first steps to recovery as they [owners] are holding out for at least OpEx.”

Braemar Shipping Services PLC has been established in the Far East for many years. Its Singapore-based Asian operation brings together shipbroking services, through the Braemar ACM name, with the services of a highly experienced and well respected technical services division, staffed in offices across the Asia-Australasia region, made up of Braemar Offshore; Braemar Engineering; Braemar Adjusting; Braemar Incorporating the Salvage Association (Braemar SA), and in addition Cory Brothers Port Agency and Logistics.

Cory Brothers has expanded its agency services in the region to Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand as their customers increase distribution of petroleum products.

Despite the volatility in the shipping markets it is busy for Braemar across all segments.

Michael Chan, Managing Director of Braemar Offshore, offering Marine Warranty Surveying, Technical Consultancy and Offshore/Marine Engineering services to the insurance, offshore construction and energy sectors, underlines the importance of strength-in-depth when it comes to reacting to market change. “This year will be the hardest year yet for the oil services sector but recovery could start to be seen by 2018 as stabilisation of the oil price creates a recovery in the market; oil price stability is key to recovery in the market,” he said. “We remain busy as our customers need complete reliability in poor markets as time is an expense where margins are small at best.”

Peter Ryan, Head of Consultancy for Braemar SA, pointed to the importance of being well-positioned in the Far East providing marine and engineering consultancy to the hull insurance, P&I, Legal, asset investment and shipping markets. “Having well-structured, well-positioned and market-understanding business units in the Far East, manned with technically and commercially-minded people who understand their business well, is a quality in demand in the market,” he said.