CHENNAI: In yet another indication of a major economic slowdown, trade activity between Europe and North America has literally come to a standstill, with container ships between the two major continents remaining either anchored or in-port.
“The North Atlantic has little or no cargo ships traveling in its waters. Instead, they are anchored. Unmoving. Empty,” according to a blog post in The Dollar Vigilante. “For the first time in known history, not one cargo ship is in-transit in the North Atlantic between Europe and North America. All of them (hundreds) are either anchored offshore or in-port. NOTHING is moving,” says New York-based website www.superstation95.com.
The Baltic Dry Index, an assessment of the price of moving major raw materials by sea, slid to a fifth consecutive record low on Monday on economic worries over China and a surplus of vessels, reports Reuters. The overall index fell 3.26 per cent to 415 points. The index has fallen by more than 13 per cent in 2016 alone and was already at record all-time low a month ago.
Basically, there are too many container ships but not enough cargo to keep all of them in business. If the supply-demand gap is not bridged, freight rates this year will take a deep dive, according to the latest Container Forecaster report.
Besides, the current goods-in-stock to sales ratio in the US mirrors the great recession in 2008, blogger Jeff Berwick claims.
A random search of tracking websites VesselFinder.com and MarineTraffic.com shows no ship movement anywhere in the world, if Berwick’s blog post is anything to go by. This has never happened before. “It is a horrific economic sign; proof that commerce is literally stopped,” he claims.