Saturday, September 03, 2016

Container ships at sea

The huge Korean container ship company  Hanjin has gone bankrupt, so it's ships are sort of stranded at sea (or being confiscated, as happened in China).

What does this mean? the UKGuardian worries about a domino effect

Hanjin represents nearly 8% of the trans-Pacific trade volume for the US market and the bankruptcy was having “a ripple effect throughout the global supply chain” that could cause significant harm to both consumers and the US economy, the association wrote.

and what caused this?
The price from China to west coast ports rose from $1,100 per container to as much as $1,700 on Thursday, while the cost from China to the East Coast jumped from $1,700 to $2,400, he said. Hanjin’s bankruptcy was a major factor, he said, although prices also were affected by an upcoming Chinese national holiday, Golden Week, that would close factories, and by shipping lines sidelining vessels to reduce overcapacity.
So was the bankrupcy caused by the high prices, or was the bankrupcy the cause of the high prices, or is someone manipulating something to make the prices higher and make money?

Wikipedia article says a slowdown in shipping caused prices to fall, so the company couldn't make a profit. They requested creditors to restructure their debt but it was turned down.

The UKIndependent says one result will be a higher price for Christmas shoppers.

Related item: Bloomberg on the TPP which does not include China

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