I am very pleased to announce the publication of the fourth
Norton Rose Transport Survey. This year, we've had over 1,000
responses and I believe it makes our survey one of the most
authoritative and hopefully one of the most eagerly awaited surveys
for the transport industry.
Last year's survey showed that there was a lot of turmoil in
the market and a tremendous lack of consensus from our respondents.
One of the findings that intrigued me most was the fact that over
40 per cent of those that responded believed that bank finance
would remain their main source of finance and yet over 40 per cent
believed that their greatest challenge would be to actually find
that finance and most surprisingly of all, over 40 per cent
believed that the greatest threat to their business would actually
be the cost of that finance.
Our current survey reveals an industry that is struggling back
after being in the depths of one of the greatest financial
recessions that any of us have ever faced. What is interesting,
however, is that there is a great consensus among the respondents
as to where the industry is going. Some of the more interesting
findings are that some 60 per cent of those that responded have
told us that they have had to readjust or restructure their
businesses, to change the market segments in which they are working
in, or they have had to change their geographical focus. Another
interesting fact is that a further 16 per cent are saying they are
doing exactly the same thing. Everybody is looking for new
Now those that are out there looking for new funds are telling
us that their main sources of funding has been structured financing
and private equity. Now, that comes as no surprise to us here at
Norton Rose. This reflects very much the work that we've been
doing for clients over the past year or so.
Another very interesting fact is that this financial crisis may
actually have made the industry greener. What we have seen from our
respondents is that there has been a great drive to reduce fuel
consumption in most parts of the industry, except for rail of
course, where they have been looking for technical innovations in
order to improve savings and efficiency.
The really good news is notwithstanding this terrible financial
recession that we have all faced, 35 per cent of our clients have
told us that they have either ordered or are about to order, or
have taken delivery of new aircraft, of new rolling stock or of new
ships. Very interestingly, it looks like their workforces are also
increasing and most surprisingly, many of them are telling us that
their turnover has either remained static and in many cases has
improved. Africa comes out as the most positive region. ;Now that
comes as no surprise to us. The reason for this is that there are
so many new mining and other industrial projects, there is bound to
be a great need for road, rail and other infrastructure, the need
for ports and airports and shipping. The Middle East retains its
confidence, but interestingly, they are looking to areas outside of
their own market to continue to grow. The strong performance of the
Asia Pacific remains in place, but one fact that we found
particularly surprising is that the Asia-Pacific considers Europe
and North America to be the market of least importance to them. The
converse of that is that Europe and North America actually sees the
Asia-Pacific region as the most important market for them outside
of their own domestic markets. Now, not surprisingly at all, South
America continues to focus very much on the North American
So, it seems to us that having looked at the survey as a whole,
shipping, aviation and rail is seeing a degree of confidence
returning to the whole transport industry. We were very interested
to see that the respondents believed the three main financial
centres that they would turn to to help grow and improve their
business would be London, New York and Singapore and the good news
for us is that by June of this year, Norton Rose Fulbright will
have world-class transport teams in each of those centres.
I hope you all enjoy reading our report and I will be very
pleased to discuss any of the findings with you. Please feel free
to call me or any partner that you normally deal with. Thank you
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