In response to the crisis described in the previous issue of the FAL Bulletin and in other documents of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the shipping industry adopted a cautious but optimistic strategy based in three main areas (relating to finance, trade and the fleet), with the dual goal of avoiding the negative impacts as well as it could and being in a good position to enjoy a future upturn in trade and economic activity which would boost the sector once again. Subsequently there was a recovery phase which confirmed that the measures adopted had been effective, but the industry was perhaps too quick to adopt an optimistic stance. Lastly, a new downturn began, particularly following the third quarter of 2010; this intensified in the early months of 2011.
The combination of such a large crisis (wide amplitude of the cycle) with changing expectations has added to dramatic attitudes and extreme behaviour, which the sector should be careful to avoid. As a general lesson, as has often occurred in analyses of the crises and the maritime cycle, once again greater prudence and caution are needed in response to signs of recovery and of an end to the crisis or recession, and also in respect of expectations which tend to exaggerate reactions.
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