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There is a lot in the press at the moment about the price of oil and the effect that this is having on the economy. From a shipping perspective it seems like this drop in oil prices has actually been hugely beneficial – operating costs of ships have reduced and the demand for oil tankers has increased (probably explaining the increase in orders for tankers at present). At a time when freight rates (particularly in the dry bulk sector) still remain low, it seems that the low oil prices are very welcome by shipowners. This article at the end of last year) is a very interesting read on the other impacts of this fall in oil prices – from stock-piling by China to increased freight rates for large oil tankers.
A question that I get asked almost daily is “how is the shipping market doing?” It’s fair to say that we have not seen the improvement that was predicted in 2015. This being said, the legal shipping market is a very different matter indeed. Experienced shipping solicitors (both litigators and those on the non-contentious side) remain in demand – and we have seen a surge in instructions from boutique shipping law firms. I imagine that this is partially due to the competitive fee structure that they offer – it seems that the shipping community as a whole has become far more cost conscious in the wake of the previous few years. All in all it seems that it is a very good time to be a shipping lawyer – the quality of work seems to be comparative irrespective of size of firm and with a focus now on strategic hires for the future this is an excellent time to consider the opportunities that may be available to you.