From shipping trade press to the BBC, it seems that shipping is having a tough time of it. Freight rates are down, there is over-capacity of ships and the dry bulk market is extremely quiet. With all of this in mind, one may assume that the shipping law market is going to suffer equally. Ironically, the opposite seems to be true.
Post-2008, the shipping litigation market was exceptionally busy, contractual disputes, collisions and piracy kept shipping litigators busy. Whilst the market seems to be more settled on the litigation front we are starting to see more demand in this area than we have over the past 18 months. Firms are once again looking to bolster their teams, and with the pessimistic indication being that the dry bulk market will revive in 2018, it seems that shipping litigation teams are looking to be ahead of the curve this time around.
Over the past few years shipping finance was, understandably, relatively quiet – the very few cash-rich owners and private equity companies kept asset finance teams afloat, but it was by no means a busy market. We are now seeing a hugely increasing demand for candidates with asset finance experience. We are currently recruiting for a number of NQ shipping finance and transportation finance roles and expect to see a continued demand in this area. With more firms seeking to establish themselves in the shipping arena this is a fantastic opportunity for candidates with an asset finance background to make the move in to an industry that offers international opportunities and the opportunity to work on high value, complex transactions.
Fundamentally, shipping is here to stay. The market will have it’s peaks and troughs (as any market will), but this is an industry where there will be a continued demand for legal services. For more information about roles in shipping law please contact Ria Karnik.