Executive Briefings

Bankruptcy Looms as Bulk Carriers' Earnings Take Hit

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, slid to an all-time low on Monday as sluggish cargo demand - especially from China - battered sentiment.

Bankruptcy Looms as Bulk Carriers' Earnings Take Hit

The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping resources, including iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilizer, was down 5 points, or 0.89 percent, at 554 points, the lowest level for which Baltic data is available, dating back to January 1985.

The index, also seen by investors as an indicator of global industrial activity, last touched this level in August 1986.

"We are all shocked at how bulk carrier earnings have collapsed this year. It was not supposed to happen this way," consultants Hartland Shipping Services said. "This has left owners trading ships at well below operating costs, further draining their already depleted cash resources and fading equity."

In one of the first casualties of the recent downturn, privately-owned shipping company Copenship said last week it had filed for bankruptcy in Copenhagen after losses in the dry bulk market.

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The overall index, which gauges the cost of shipping resources, including iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilizer, was down 5 points, or 0.89 percent, at 554 points, the lowest level for which Baltic data is available, dating back to January 1985.

The index, also seen by investors as an indicator of global industrial activity, last touched this level in August 1986.

"We are all shocked at how bulk carrier earnings have collapsed this year. It was not supposed to happen this way," consultants Hartland Shipping Services said. "This has left owners trading ships at well below operating costs, further draining their already depleted cash resources and fading equity."

In one of the first casualties of the recent downturn, privately-owned shipping company Copenship said last week it had filed for bankruptcy in Copenhagen after losses in the dry bulk market.

Read Full Article

Bankruptcy Looms as Bulk Carriers' Earnings Take Hit