Former China Shipping Development boss gets six year prison sentence
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Bei Hong reflects on a tough year for shipping analysts and wishes them well in the new world of industry consolidation
Another year draws to a close and with it, the percentage of years of my shipping career where markets can best be described as ‘disappointing’, sadly increases. This is no place to be conducting a ‘review’ of the past twelve months. December seems to bring about a host of such things, together with awards ceremonies, which this title has so far mercifully managed to shy away from. Back in the UK, the onset of the Christmas season is not heralded by an event with any religious significance, but by the annual Sports Personality of the Year television extravaganza, an event which more often than not proves that if you were blessed with great sporting talent, it invariably came at the expense of anything resembling a personality.
Personality is something which participants in the shipping industry have never been short of -- larger than life characters have dominated the business for years. Shipowners have always been prime tabloid fodder - Oslo, Greece and Hong Kong in particular have their share of tycoons who regularly appear on the social as well as the business pages, but recent years have seen the rise of the celebrity shipping analyst. They might not be making it on the social pages, but the rise of the shipping conference industry has seen analysts take on a much higher profile -- and 2014 probably wasn’t a great year for them.
Unless you subscribe to the conspiracy theory that the analysts were talking things up on instructions from their broking and investment banking colleagues who were acting on behalf of the ‘new money’ flooding in to the business (surely not?), then in the dry cargo market in particular, things didn’t go the way the analysts predicted. It was painful reading yet another ‘the upturn is just around the corner’ report as optimism for the second quarter petered out and the third quarter began to see a degree of panic set in, partially off-set by an autumn ... More>>