This photo was sent to us this morning from Chris Allport with the note:
“The shipping market is almost dead! Sign of the times I guess. Brokers have been passing the attached photograph around – I think it says everything about the market for the commercial guys at the moment, loads of ships parked up, so have a round of golf, because there is not much else to do.”
With most of an MBA degree under my belt (when this blog started doing well I was told by those I love to pick one, for better or worse, here we are) I realized there is very little of the financial world I know much about, the recent financial crisis only cements this notion. But the jobs of mariners are on the line so we are committed to learning more. In the interim head over to CMA, Marine Money or The Maritime Executive. Capital Link Shipping also has day-by-day analysis available online.
For a broad overview here is a clipping from yesterday’s New York Times:
At the docks here, the stacks of shipping containers that used to loom above the highway overpass are gone. Logistics managers say they negotiate deeper discounts every week on ships that are leaving half empty.
American retailers, after suffering a dismal holiday shopping season, are delaying payment for Chinese goods 90 or even 120 days after shipping, in contrast to the usual 30 to 45 days, forcing their suppliers to try to borrow more money to cover the difference. Some Chinese suppliers who cannot raise the money — many already operate on thin margins — are going out of business.
At the same time, retailers are demanding that exporters show that they have strong balance sheets and will not go bankrupt before completing orders. Exporters, worried the retailers will fail before paying for their purchases, are reluctant to let goods be loaded on ships. And banks, for the same reason, have cut back on guaranteeing retailers’ payments to exporters. Continue Reading…