Making money by investing in ships on speculation is limited, despite the fact that prices of ships are pretty low, according to Nils Smedegaard Andersen, chief executive of the Danish shipping company AP Møller- Mærsk.
In a keynote speech on Oct 8 at a Danish Maritime Days forum in Copenhagen, he explained that “ownership is a minus game” because apart from the price there are several other factors to consider when investing in new ships. “The chances are that if you buy a ship today it will cost you the financial cost, coupled with depreciation risk of technological innovation, making it obsolete. What is more, it will cost you quite a lot to stick with that ship for a while. This risk is hugely underestimated,” he said.
Mr Andersen said that their practice was to buy ships the company needs as late as possible, thus running less risk. One of the discussion topics of the forum was: Why shipping is not an attractive industry per se? Mr Andersen said that blaming overcapacity, over-financing and too little scrapping was a very simplistic way of putting it.
However, “ordering a little less and looking a bit further in the future, focusing much more on market leads” would be a way forward for the industry. Speaking of the future of the workforce, Mr Andersen referred to a good initiative in Denmark which saw establishment of a university study of marine transportation technology and management.
“Making sure you have a pipeline of well educated people is absolutely feasible,” he said, adding that Maersk has had various education programmes so far for both high-school and university level attendees