Shipping companies in the Mid-dle East operate as industrial carriers rather than asset players, so it came as no surprise at the well-attended TradeWinds Middle East Shipowners Forum that the position taken by the regions top-tier shipping executives was that success comes from taking a long-term view and adopting an ability to seize opportunities no matter what the state of the market.
The biggest mistake of the past decade, it was claimed, was made by asset-playing speculators who saw shipping as a short-term money-making vehicle.
Their actions led to the market being flooded with ships that it did not need, destroying the frag-ile supply and demand balance.
The bumpy ride they have expe-rienced has caused many specu-lators to have a very low level of enthusiasm for the business and it was noted that this could cre-ate opportunities for long-term players as good quality tonnage is made available on the secondhand markets.
The forum also highlighted how the Middle East’s business com-munity manages to rise above regional politics. Despite current tensions between Iran and the rest of the Gulf states, National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) commer-cial director Nasrollah Sardashti was warmly welcomed back as he took his place among a panel of high-profile shipowners.
The feeling in the room was that despite regional politics, it was only a matter of time before close business links develop between Iranian shipowners and the rest of the Middle East community.