Year ends on a ‘high’ with the famous name of Cammell Laird to the fore again
As we enter the final month of 2016, the team here at Sea Breezes send our good wishes to you and yours for the festive season and the New Year celebrations which lie ahead.
It has been our continuing pleasure to report on current affairs in world shipping as well as taking readers down memory lane with a fascinating array of ships and stories from days gone by.
There were gloomy predictions for world shipping in 2016 due to falling rates, over-capacity in container fleets and decline in world trade, particularly as a result of a slowdown in the Chinese economy. Sure enough, some of these predictions materialised in recent months with the collapse of Hanjin, the South Korean company. From a lofty position as one of the world’s leading and largest container companies, it entered administration with billions of debt.
As a truly global industry, world shipping has always been at the mercy of economic and political events, but there are always positive developments to balance up the bad news. Maersk Line, for example, recently restored services to Iran, a symbolic step in the thawing of relationships between that country and the wider world. Earlier this year, we reported on the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project, hard on the heels of the modernisation of the Suez Canal. I was intrigued to note that Peel Ports Group - the owners of the Port of Liverpool - recently signed a co-operation agreement with the Panama Canal Authority with the aim of encouraging trade routes between Liverpool and the west coast of South America.
However, the most welcome story of the year (and this perhaps reflects my age and stage of life) was the outbreak of sanity over the naming of the UK’s new Polar Research vessel to be built at the historic Cammell Laird shipyard on the Mersey. Despite a public vote heavily favouring the name ‘Boaty McBoatface’, this world leading research vessel will be named RRS Sir David Attenborough. After decades of prominence as a broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David is truly an icon of his times and it was wonderful to see him recently at the ceremonial laying of the keel ceremony in the Cammell Laird shipyard. The winning of this prestigious order by Cammell Laird against strong international competition is a wonderful boost for British shipbuilding and British engineering - a cause for real celebration as 2016 nears its end.
Sea Breezes thanks our readers for your loyalty over the last year and we look forward to sharing news, views and stories from the maritime world with you in the New Year.
HAMISH ROSS, EDITOR