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Pressure continues on Asian box trades

Pressure continues on Asian box trades

Hong Kong: Plummeting intra Asian trade volumes are a growing headache for boxship owners and operators. According to latest figures from broker Clarkson Asia, Chinese exports to Japan fell in February by a massive 32.4% compared with a year earlier. Total box trade between the two countries fell more than a quarter, year on year. But the Port of Singapore, the world's busiest container port, bucked the downward trend in March, with container throughput up 18.4% compared with February. However, container traffic totalling 2.19m TEU was still down almost 15% compared with March 2008's 2.57m TEU.

Meanwhile, fixtures continue to be concluded at rock-bottom rates. Clarkson reports that leading carrier MSC has continued to fix post panamax tonnage in a fleet expansion exercise. "This expansion and fleet renewal appear to continue unabated with rumours surrounding more 2 1 year fixtures at historically low levels," the broker commented. The container line is reported to have booked the 8411 TEU Northern J and sisters for 2, option 1 years at just $10,000 a day. Meanwhile the 2478 TEU Antonia Schulte and the 2442 TEU Gallia were chartered short term by Hamburg Sued at $5,400 a day and $5,500 a day respectively.  [22/04/09]

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