There was no shortage of government inducements to turn the lackluster tide in 2012—stimulus spending in China and Japan, quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and multiple actions by the European Central Bank to strengthen the Eurozone. But as the year evolved, weak macroeconomic fundamentals decisively trumped monetary policy initiatives and continued their choke on global commerce, hence the maritime sector. Anyone who characterizes 2012 as even marginally better for shipping than 2011 can do so only because the bar was set far too low. Both last year and the current one will go down in maritime business annals as part of a bleak, monotonous, and particularly long period of volatility that began in 2009. This was yet another excruciating year for the global maritime community.
U.S. Merchant Marine and World Maritime Review
By Shashi Kumar