Liner firms will show profits in 2010, says Germanischer Lloyd.
Germanischer Lloyd expects liner companies to be the first to return to ordering newbuildings, with most liner companies ?doing increasingly better?.
Speaking at the classification society"s annual meeting in Hamburg, GL board member Hermann Klein predicted that most liner companies will show profits for 2010.
He added that GL was in talks with a number of members about new ship designs which meet the environmental requirements of the future.
Mr Klein said that hull design improvements could help reduce the bunker bill of an 8,000 teu ship by $29m over a 25 year life span ? based on a bunker price of $600 per tonne, which GL regards as realistic for the future.
?It is time for better ships,? said Mr Klein.
Some owners with ships on order are trying to optimise designs retroactively to make them more efficient. While yards had been reluctant to deal with any changes in the past, they are more prepared to do so now, according to Mr Klein. ?It is a buyers" market now. Yards have to offer what owners need,? he said.
It is in GL"s own interest to support newbuilding activities, with turnover in the maritime business stagnating in 2009 at ?338.3m ($462.5m), said board member Joachim Segatz.
Maritime now accounts for less than 50% of Germanischer Lloyd"s total turnover, which reached ?685.5m in 2009. GL saw growth of 24.5% in 2009, though only 2% was from organic growth. The rest came from acquisitions, mainly in GL"s industrial business. Since 2007, the group has undertaken 10 acquisitions.
The GL-classified fleet in operation reached 6,903 ships of 84.5m gt as of December 31, 2009. The number of employees in the maritime segment had remained more or less stable, Mr Segatz said.
At the Hamburg headquarters, staff headcount was reduced by about 120 over the past year. More than 10% of the tonnage scheduled for delivery in 2009 under GL class was delayed, GL told Lloyd"s List earlier this year.
Mr Segatz admitted that group profit in 2009 remained below the original target, but would not give the actual figure. The downturn was due to both the difficult maritime business and project delays in the oil and gas segment, he added. For the current year, he expects growth for both profit and turnover and would not rule out further acquisitions, either.
Mr Segatz said that GL owner Günter Herz ?supports our course sustainably and in every respect?.