Germany’s shipping industry faces a wave of bankruptcies over coming months as funding dries up and deepening economic woes across the world cause a sharp contraction in container trade.
Over 100 German ship funds have already shut down as the long-simmering crisis in global container shipping finally comes to a head. A further 800 funds are threatened with insolvency, according to consultants TPW in Hamburg.
They are not alone. Britain’s oldest shipowner, Stephenson Clark, dating back to 1730, went into liquidation last week, closing the final chapter of Britain’s coal trade and the industrial revolution.
It cited “incredibly depressed” vessel rates. The firm over-invested in the boom four years ago, betting too much on the China syndrome.
Germany is the superpower of container shipping, controlling almost 40pc of the world market. The Germans also misread the cycle and have been struggling to cope ever since with a legacy of debt and a glut of ships. Now everything is going wrong at once....MUCH MORE
...The odd twist is that Greek shippers are the ones quietly snapping up bargains from distressed German companies “The Greeks are sitting on a pile of cash. They are in their own special cocoon completely removed from Greece’s political troubles,” said Dimitris Morochartzis from Lloyd’s List Intelligence....