Business, Finance & Economics

Shipping costs sink


(What is a shipping exchange?) Historically we've operated a big trading floor in London and that's where people can to buy, sell, and arrange ships. These days that's all done via email. But we still produce data which reflects the data rates obtainable in the market. the other cost of shipping is a time rate cost where you rent the ship and pay on a daily basis and they provide a crew and a ship. (So freight rates have collapsed, dropping 80% since May. What does that mean in real terms?) It means that increasingly there are more ships than cargos, and I think the credit crunch has spread into trade, so people are finding it difficult to build credit which is a key part of shipping goods. That's created a lock up in the freight market. we also all understood that China was closing down for the Olympics and they haven't picked up yet. So there's a range of factors but the biggest one is the difficulty of establishing credit lines. Trade isn't needed as much so there's not as much of a demand for shipping, which causes our prices to fall. (where does this leave the people who work in the shipping industry?) Everyone is very concerned. Ships could start to be laid up. (Is it as simple as if the international financial markets right themselves than the shipping industry will be fine?) I don't think it's that simple. If there's a dramatic slow down in emerging markets like China, that would be bad news for our industry. And the biggest problem right now is no one can see the real market right now.

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