China wields new power in shipping
Chinese leasing companies have been snatching up shipping vessels and could take control in a future crisis
The Financial Times reported that Chinese leasing companies have recently taken ownership of hundreds of vessels with investments totaling US$11.5 billion in 2016 alone by some estimates. The shift comes as European banks and US private equity firms have backed out of shipping lending while still dealing with losses suffered since 2008. Some warn that the leasing arrangements pose a danger for operators that the leasing companies could easily take control in the event of default. One shipping industry representative noted that since the trend has just taken off over the past year, there is no way to predict how the Chinese groups would act in the event of a crisis.