Thursday, September 17

"I Gotcher Green Shoots Right Here"

One of the most reliable indicators of world economic conditions is shipping traffic. Here's a story in the UK's Daily Mail about the unprecedented decline in the amount of shipping world wide and - most shocking to me - the precipitous decline in the cost of renting a container ship.

This entire story is worth a read, but some of the highlights - if you are in a hurry are:
  • A massive fleet of empty container ships sits idle in the waters off Singapore. Apparently, world ship owners are just parking them there
  • The cost of chartering a bulk freighter has plunged from $300,000 last summer to $10,000 earlier this year.
  • It takes 3 years from the time a new ship is ordered till it is delivered. Come 2011, the world's biggest ship-building companies in South Korea will have nothing to work on, because no one is ordering new ships.
Here's a sea-level photo of some of those idle ships:

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