Shock and awe

Turbulence in the containership segment is unlikely to end anytime soon, according to industry veteran Ronald Widdows.

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Widdows, who stepped down as chief executive of Rickmers Group earlier this year, issued the grim market forecast during a presentation at the Marine Money Week conference in New York.

“There will be oversupply in the containership space for some time, which will of course continue to put pressure on rates,” he told attendees Wednesday.

Widdows also spoke at length about the collapse of the P3 alliance, which came as a shock to him and many other panelists as well.

“I was quite surprised,” he said, adding: “But from a competitive standpoint I think, generally speaking, that this is a good thing for many carriers and terminal operators.”

If smaller carriers continue to expand existing alliances and forge new ones Widdows believes it is likely that the trend will trigger more orders for 18,000-teu containerships despite the unraveling of the P3 scheme.

“This will of course exacerbate oversupply,” he continued before dismissing the merger between Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV as a development that will, from an industry perspective, have nothing more than a “minor impact” on the containership market.

Ronald Widdows bills himself as the former chief executive of NOL and APL. According to a profile found in the Marine Money Week programme he now serves as an advisor to Rickmers Holding and is chairman of the World Shipping Council.