There's a glimmer of light for NZ. Shipping costs are likely to remain low. The Ports of Auckland cut a big channel down the shipping lane to cope with this new class of monstrous, ugly (that image is the best angle possible) vessel. 366 metres long. Wall Street Journal on the future of "ultra-large" container shipping:
With overcapacity and a drop in trade, the bottom recently fell out on shipping rates. The rate for shipping a container from Asia to Europe, the world's busiest trade lane, has fallen to around $300, one-tenth the cost of a year ago, even as some shippers cancel regular runs. Some ships have gone so far as to take containers free. The only cost to the shipper is roughly $500 in fuel and transit fees, which are assessed on all containers.
That's an astounding drop. How much was oil price a factor?
According to the most recent data available, the U.S., Japan, China and the European Union all suffered 10% declines in exports in November, auguring a bitter 2009 for global trade. Yet shipping companies aren't expected to cancel any orders for new ships, allowing the global fleet to increase by over 12% -- way ahead of expected demand.
The big guys are going to force all the smaller ones out by their super-fleets of ultra-large container ships charging ultra-cheap rates. Once they are all eliminated the cartel will start.
Two European billionaires are leading the move to supersize ships. Gianluigi Aponte, owner of Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping, has ordered 48 ultralarge vessels, including the Daniela. . His strategy is to gain market share by building bigger ships and aggressively recruiting customers, said people familiar with the company. MSC is the second-largest container shipper in the world, with 450 vessels, behind Denmark's A.P. Moeller-Maersk, with 500 ships.
Mr. Aponte's rival is Jacques Saadé, the 71-year-old founder and director of Marseille-based CMA-CGM, which has ordered 37 ultralarge ships. The two tycoons, who've been battling each other since the 1970s, study each other's moves like chess players. "We're not shrinking anything in our organization," Mr. Saadé said in a rare interview. "If we need to, we'll order more big ships, for economies [of scale]."
The biggest containership ever classed by Germanischer Lloyd (GL) was delivered in mid-December at Samsung Heavy Industry Shipyard in Geoje, Korea. The newbuilding named MSC DANIELA has a capacity of 13,800 TEU, a length of 366 metres and a width of 51,2 metres.
[Quick calculation: deck space is about 1.7 hectares (4 acres).]