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HSH Nordbank: God’s gift to shipping

The German specialist lender rides the wave of ship-borne globalization.

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“‘God must be a shipowner’ is a popular saying among those in the shipping industry,” says Martin Kuznik, global head of ship financing at HSH Nordbank, the Hamburg-based bank that is the world’s leading ship financer. “The shipping industry is at the heart of globalization. Just look at where on the globe the growing manufacturing economies are, look where all the raw materials are located and look where the final goods are consumed. Shipping benefits hugely from the shift in the world’s manufacturing base to Asia, with its dependence on raw material imports, while container shipping benefits from the export of Asia’s production to the rest of the world.”

But the shipping industry is not just attractive to shipowners, it is also extremely attractive for the banks that finance them. Although the business is considered risky because it is highly cyclical and volatile, losses are in fact extremely low.

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