Lloyd's List is part of Maritime Intelligence

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited, registered in England and Wales with company number 13831625 and address c/o Hackwood Secretaries Limited, One Silk Street, London EC2Y 8HQ, United Kingdom. Lloyd’s List Intelligence is a trading name of Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited. Lloyd’s is the registered trademark of the Society Incorporated by the Lloyd’s Act 1871 by the name of Lloyd’s.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. For high-quality copies or electronic reprints for distribution to colleagues or customers, please call UK support at +44 (0)20 3377 3996 / APAC support at +65 6508 2430

Printed By


Biden should be a shipping-friendly president

From a business perspective, even when it comes to shipping-specific concerns, there are no obvious reasons for the industry to fear Biden's presidential victory

While Donald Trump regarded trade negotiations as a zero-sum game, his successor has a better understanding of free markets and a more pragmatic approach to foreign policy, which could see him dial back heavy-handed sanctions

AMERICA’S choice of president is so important, the old European witticism runs, that everyone in the world ought to get a vote.

But that isn’t how these things work, and the only Lloyd’s List readers able to have their say last week were those who are US citizens.

The verdict of the electorate, at least, was unambiguous.

Some 74m people opted for the Democrats’ Joe Biden, with only 70m favouring a second term for Republican incumbent Donald Trump.

The choice between the candidates’ wider political agendas is a matter of individual conscience, of course, and given the outcome confirmed at the weekend, liberals will already be in celebration mode.

But if we narrow the focus down to a business perspective, or even shipping-specific concerns, there are no obvious reasons for conservatives to fear a President Biden administration.

The rap sheet against Trump is voluminous, not least on account of his overt bonhomie towards elements in US society that should be encouraged to limit use of white bedsheets to the bedroom.

But his enactment of tax cuts and deregulation did allow many businesses, especially small businesses, to flourish.

Stimulus spending on a grand scale ripped up prevalent economic orthodoxy, but sustained growth in personal consumption to a degree that has redounded to the benefit of container trades.

You decide whether Trump succeeded in his declared aim to Make America Great Again, but he helped make America a Net Oil Exporter Again, even if it was his predecessor President Obama who actually lifted the crude oil export ban in 2015, for the first time since the 1940s, which was no uncertain boon for tanker owners.

Even his commitment to the Jones Act was proven to be as unimpeachable as he himself turned out to be.

But there were gargantuan lacunae too, not least Trump’s persistent conceptualisation of trade as a zero-sum game.

Biden has the better understanding of free markets and free trade, both of which work best when there is confidence that democracy will unfold the way the textbooks say it should.

His more pragmatic approach to foreign policy will be welcomed by an industry in which owners, with the obvious exception of the maverick few, value predictability.

US sanctions are frequently extraterritorial in remit, adding bite to the joke with which we opened. Such heavy-handedness is perceived by the rest of the planet as unjust.

The real prospect of resumed talks with Tehran and Caracas will be positive news for shipowners who wish to trade legitimately with those nations, not to mention the P&I clubs and other marine insurers that are currently forbidden from covering vessels calling in Iran.

A reduction in posturing in negotiations with China will also be welcomed by those in the industry who have had to live with the consequences of Trump’s flirtation with protectionism, which have been sufficiently extensive to make a communist government appear the better advocate of Adam Smith.

Even a more coherent approach to coronavirus, making good Trump’s most visible single failing, will boost prospects of a rapid resumption of economic normality.

While Biden may not offer a panacea for all that ails shipping, or even any to have particular interest in our fate, he should be shipping-friendly.

Related Content





Ask The Analyst

Please Note: You can also Click below Link for Ask the Analyst
Ask The Analyst

Your question has been successfully sent to the email address below and we will get back as soon as possible. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts