Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry recovered to their highest level in two years in the three months ending February 2013, according to the latest Shipping Confidence Survey from international accountant and shipping adviser Moore Stephens.
There was improved expectation of freight rate increases over the next twelve months, particularly in the dry bulk sector, and greater likelihood of new investment in the industry.
In February 2013, the average confidence level expressed by respondents in the markets in which they operate was 5.8 on a scale of one (low) to 10 (high), compared to the figure of 5.6 recorded in the previous survey in November 2012.
The survey was launched in May 2008 with a confidence rating of 6.8.
All categories of respondents expressed increased confidence over the three-month period.
The confidence rating for managers of 6.2 (up from 6.0 last time) was the highest since August 2010, while that for charterers was up from 5.6 to 6.0, the highest since November 2010.
Confidence on the part of owners was up from 5.5 to 5.7 (the highest since May 2011) while for brokers the increase was from 5.3 to 5.6, the highest level in the past twelve months.
Geographically, although confidence was down in Asia (from 6.0 to 5.6) and in North America (from 6.6 to 6.1), it was up in Europe, from 5.3 to 5.8, its highest level since August 2010.
A number of respondents felt that there were positive signs that a recovery was on the way.
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