Containership Volume To Slow

The giant containerships, which act as a floating conveyor-belt for international trade, are struggling to maintain volumes in the face of global slow down, shipping analysts said.

Analysts said it was the container carrying behemoths on the trans-Pacific trades that had started to suffer first, largely because of U.S. slow down.

Many can load over 6,000 truck-sized units at once, packed with anything from refrigerated fruit and shellfish through to televisions and cars.

The Commonwealth Group estimated the Pacific decline at 10-15 percent since a year ago. The result is that earnings will fall.

Clarksons said on top of the threats to shipping demand, there was also the danger of huge oversupply.

The orders were placed during the two boom years of 1999 and 2000.

Shipping database Lloyd's Register- Fairplay lists over 100 new giant ships under construction, each capable of carrying over 5,000 truck-sized containers.

Many smaller ships are also in the pipeline.

While the Japanese are reportedly the most exposed, the Germans have taken a heavy hit as well.

Between them, Japan's NYK, K-Line and Mitsui O.S.K Lines had placed about a third of the big orders, while German tax-incentive schemes were also responsible for about a third.

Traditional European operators had been less involved. Germany's Hapag- Lloyd and A P Moller, Britain's P&O and Greece's Costamare had between them only contributed to one tenth of the glut. One outcome could be consolidation within the market, and many smaller players could disappear.

Other stories from August 2001 issue


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First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.