Shipbrokers are optimistic about the sea transport market

At the turn of the year, the Finnish Shipbrokers Association conducted a member survey that was answered by 30 administrative representatives of the Association’s member companies. The respondents included shipping companies, port operators, ship agents and chartering brokers.

Of the responding companies, 67% expect the demand for sea transports to increase over the next three years. The reason for this is global growth within the field, new customers, the pro-environmental aspect of sea transports and the increase in forestry, especially in Finland.
There are, however, insecurities as well. In the open answer section, respondents stated that areas of concern within global markets include, for example, the trade war and Brexit. Nearly 60% feel that the situation in their own company is strong, however, and they expect to see an increase in turnover. Approximately 47% also expect an improved result.

The management of the companies anticipate that, over the next three years, their business activities will be most affected by digitalisation, environmental issues and the trend towards centralisation taking place in the field. Companies are preparing for the changes through training, the development of their operational methods and organisations, and buyouts. Proactive preparations intended to manage changes in environmental aspects are seen as a competitive advantage.

The total combined annual turnover of companies in the field is approximately 450 million euro. The survey clarified the division of gross invoicing among the companies and, based on the results, altogether 10% of the companies invoiced more than 90 million euro in 2018, 20% approx. 30–70 million euro and about 70% less than 30 million euro.

The mean age for personnel working in companies in the field is 45.7 years, and 73% of the employees are men. Of the responding companies, 56% represented companies with fewer than 20 employees and 23% were companies with more than 100 employees. The field employs approximately 2,000 persons, of which, according to the survey, 48% are stevedores, 6% ship agents, 21% employees of liner traffic and 5% chartering brokers. Around 21% of the employees work in administrative positions.

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