Shipping rates hit zero as trade sinks
Following the new reader mandated policy of posting fresh rather than updating old posts here is more news from the world of shipping.
Freight rates for containers shipped from Asia to Europe have fallen to zero for the first time since records began, underscoring the dramatic collapse in trade since the world economy buckled in October.
Korea’s exports fell 30pc in January compared to a year earlier. Exports have slumped 42pc in Taiwan and 27pc in Japan, according to the most recent monthly data. Even China has now started to see an outright contraction in shipments, led by steel, electronics and textiles.
A report by ING yesterday said shipping activity at US ports has suddenly dived. Outbound traffic from Long Beach and Los Angeles, America’s two top ports, has fallen by 18pc year-on-year, a far more serious decline than anything seen in recent recessions.
That last was the story I picked up one earlier from another source.
Global trade is going to decline this year – the first year that has happened. The World Bank used the word “may” – I won’t. Neither will I retract my earlier statements that the port expansion at Point Roberts and the associated highway megaprojects will be white elephants. Joining the Olympic Village and the Convention Centre as projects we wished we had never built. The 2010 Olympics will join the Montreal Olympics as the object lesson in public investments that went wrong.
One of the best lectures I ever attended was called “Great Planning Disasters” by Professor Peter Hall – and every single one the candidates was a transport project. (They included the Third London Airport, Concorde and London’s motorways.) That was a few years ago and in the UK. It gives me no pleasure at all to think that I will be able to take a PowerPoint slide show on the road in a few years time with the same title about projects in this region which we must cancel – now – while there is still time to change course.