After another year of trade conflict, regulatory uncertainty and a tempestuous market for ocean carriers, there may be signs of stability ahead.
Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) executives are optimistic about 2020 cargo supply chains — and the heavy-lift, multipurpose carriers that serve them — according to interviews at this month’s Breakbulk Americas conference in Houston.
Attendees spoke about encouraging signs and the obstacles they continue to face, including the International Maritime Organization’s 2020 sulfur regulations, expanding renewable energy sources and more.
“We’ve been looking into offshore [wind energy] in the U.S. for years, but now offshore is a reality. I believe from 2022 and beyond, there will be many projects in the northeast. A lot of details are still being worked out. There is a pretty significant market share within offshore — globally — to be held here in North America.”
—Filipe Cecilio, operations manager, SiemensGamesa
“We're seeing lots of strength in the LNG world right now, and that's really good. They're building up the capability now. I think we're going to have a few near-term years where there's supply glut, as these things come online, but the demand is going to be very high down the road.”
—Jay Fendergrass, vice president of supply chain, Fluor
“The potential is in renewables. Build parks — wind power, solar power. This is where the growing is going to be.”
—Luis Martínez Leon, president and chief commitment officer, BLK Global Logistics
Project Cargo Market
“It's a buyer's market right now. If you have projects and you need to buy, now is the time. I think in six or eight months, the prices are going to go back up. So if you have projects right now, buy, buy, buy.”
—Kent Danforth, director of procurement, S&B Engineers and Constructors
“The industry's ready for IMO 2020 because of organizations like Breakbulk. The carriers’ partnerships and transparency they provided really allowed us to plan for this and control some of the risk going forward on pricing. We're concerned about it, but it's not something that's keeping me up at night because of the way the industry's responded.”
—Bill Keyes, global logistics director, Fluor
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