October 6, 2008
BRUCE BARNARD / Shipping Digest


Orders for new container ships have dried up as vessel charter rates and ocean freight rates tumble and volume growth slows on key liner trade routes.

Enquiries to shipbuilders about new tonnage have “hit the floor,” according to London-based Clarkson, the world’s biggest ship broker “With volumes and earnings stalling, owners’ taste for newbuilds has slowed right down.”

The collapse in orders, which has affected all ship sizes, follows five straight years of historically high deliveries. Only 179 container ships were contracted in the first eight months of this year, down 49 percent year-on-year, Clarkson reports. This compares with a record 566 contracts in 2005, 479 in 2006 and 530 in 2007.


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