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The Container Ship Curse?

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Tags Booms and BustsGlobal EconomyBusiness Cycles


The world's largest container ship just entered a US port. Just in time for record low levels in the Baltic Dry Shipping Index, which is a measure of how much ships can charge. This is a classic case of how artificially low interest rates, globally, creates malinvestments, deflation, and eventually bankruptcies.

According to an article in the Daily Mail:

Meanwhile, experts warn the rise in the number of mega ships is accelerating faster than the rate of exports.

Analyzing the trend for mega ships in June 2015, the International Transportation Forum's Olaf Merk said: "We found a disconnect between what is going on in the boardrooms of shipping lines and the real world. The growth of containerized seaborne trade is no longer in line with the growth of the world container fleet."

He warns the surge could lead to "gridlock" in ports around the globe.

The Baltic Dry Shipping Index hit an all time low in February below 300. At the peak of the Housing Bubble it was over 11,000. If you were building at 11,000 and you are earning 300 you have an unsustainable business model, a "disconnect."


Contact Mark Thornton

Mark Thornton is a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and the book review editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He has authored seven books and is a frequent guest on national radio shows.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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