Like unwelcome guests who will not leave, 453 container ships, 11 percent of global capacity, now float outside the harbors of Hong Kong, Singapore and other Southeast Asian ports. They are unwanted by their hosts as well as their customers. In recent days China has quietly let it be known that it wants to rid its territorial waters of these nautical squatters. Only five years ago huge demand from China meant that all these ships, and more, were desperately needed. This had a dramatic impact first on shipping rates, and then on supply. Between the end of 2006 and July 2008, shipyards received enough commissions to double the world's fleet. Now these new ships--more than 9,000 vessels--are taking to the water just as demand has collapsed. The world is awash with ships.
Source: The Economist
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.