The year 2015 was a forgettable one for the vast majority of the global maritime community. Interestingly, this sentiment became pronounced by the middle of the year and did not recover.1 There was no anticipation of a rising tide lifting all shipping markets as had been expected in 2014, only to be let down by the end of that year. The sole exception to the gloomy 2015 trend was the tanker market, which continued its exceptional recovery that began in 2014 and had its second best year since the 2008 global economic crisis.
Many shipping companies, especially those with dry-bulk investments, are in various stages of financial difficulty today. The 55 shipping stocks monitored by Clarksons declined 18 percent on average during the year, and the Shipping Heat Index they track (a ratio of vessel earnings and investment activity) dropped to 62 for the year, three points below the 2014 average. This is despite impressive gains in controlling ship-operating costs in all three major shipping markets reported by Moore Stephens.