We Had Drinks With The Biggest Players In The Shipping World, And This Is What They Told Us

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

Almost everything Americans own has spent time on a ship crossing the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.Ships transport energy, raw materials, and finished goods ranging from socks to BMWs.  No industry has a more intimate understanding of what’s going on in the global economy.

The 25th annual Marine Money Week just wrapped up.  Business Insider was invited to a cocktail reception where we rubbed elbows with the top bankers, savviest analysts, and most powerful shipping magnates in the entire world.

Despite its size, the shipping industry is notoriously secretive, with very few companies ever going public

The party was held at the MoMA, where the shipping industry's biggest dealmakers were honored for making it rain

We met DVB Bank's Dagfinn Lunde, who some argue is the most powerful shipping banker in the world

Thomas Preben Hansen, CEO of Rickmers Maritime, noted that around 3/4 of the crowd were facing legacy debt problems

Every single person we spoke to argued that the Baltic Dry Index is an extremely poor proxy for the health of shipping and the global economy

Rev. David M. Rider of the Seaman's Church Institute told us about the intense emotional distress that many seafarers face during their extended periods on the sea

Diamond S Shipping won Marine Money's award for Private Equity Deal of the Year (From L to R: Mike Fogarty, SVP; Florence Ioannou, CFO; Craig Stevenson Jr., CEO; Craig Stevenson III, VP; Peter Ekvall, VP)

With help from W.L. Ross, Diamond S secured over $1 billion in equity financing for 30 ships

Stevenson told us he got his start in the industry as a lowly navigator. Now he's one of the most powerful shippers in the world

Loli Wu, a top banker from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, spoke on effective strategies on generating return on capital

Marine Money Week is one of the best opportunities for shippers to connect with the best financiers in the business

Lichtblau acknowledged the supply-side problems of the shipping industry. But he also noted that many of the most debt-laden shippers were still able to fund their operating and interest costs

Matt McCleery, President of Marine Money, was happy to have us

We left knowing that despite troubles in the shipping industry, the global economy was indeed growing at a healthy clip

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