As we have observed in previous editions, ship finance has long been the preserve of specialists in the field, operating in an environment where market participants all knew each other, where knowledge was evenly shared by those participants and where the faces rarely changed. Moreover, the shipping industry itself was shrouded in mystery, lacked transparency to all but insiders and was populated by private companies that relied solely on trusted advisers with whom long relationships existed. The former is still largely true, but developments in the regulatory environment and rapid changes in the global markets have had a material impact on the latter. Whether caused by government reactions to environmental issues and post-9/11 security concerns, or the impact of a prolonged recession following the financial crisis, the industry has changed. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it has evolved or even matured. Whatever the cause, the industry is more transparent today, has seen considerable consolidation (and insolvency-driven restructurings) and has attracted the attention of Wall Street. One of the consequences of this is the continual stream of new entrants into the market, however fleeting their interest may be. This last development serves as the continuing rationale for this volume and the issues addressed in the various country surveys.