January 28, 2016

More Intriguing News From the World of Shipping

Bloomberg News has a post on the continuing decline in shipping worldwide...

Do read the whole thing...

Short version: Shipping is going down in a way that is quite worrisome. 
This is not a seasonal or short term thing either. We mentioned in passing the Baltic Dry Index being at a 29 year low last March

One article I blundered into recently made me do a double take. 


This graphic is from January 3 and purports to show that there were no commercial ships in transit on January third. This is not quite true. Close inspection of the map indicates that there were some vessels underway (but not yet in mid ocean). Today the map looks much less stark. Such alarmist stories tend to cause the very real drop in shipping to be dismissed. 



This is certainly making waves in the merchant marine.


"Did you see what he did there?"

How can this possibly jive with the record number of parcels I mentioned we were getting over the holidays? Online shipping. Whereas we previously delivered boxes containing multiple products to stores, we are now delivering many more individual parcels dispersed to peoples houses, so it is entirely possible that the amount of "stuff" we shipped, was smaller in aggregate than in years past, though the number of parcels and physical volume taken up was greater. Additionally, we now have the highly publicized Sure Post service, where our company is handling a huge number of post office packages. I won't give even ballpark percentages on this as such information, is, of course privileged and confidential, but I can say that this additional business (that was already extant and shifted to us, not a net gain in the larger economy) was a non-trivial factor in our volume this year. 

Aside from that, there is one possible leading indicator I have noted being shipped quite a bit recently...

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:18 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 323 words, total size 3 kb.

1 But Janet Yellen swears that the economy is in the best shape EVER!

Posted by: BigFire at Thu Jan 28 18:18:34 2016 (pNmmq)

2 It's my fault.  I stopped buying paper books.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thu Jan 28 19:52:26 2016 (PiXy!)

3 I have a cousin who works worked for is furloughed from Union Pacific.  He's furloughed because cross-country shipping has been dropping steadily for the last few years.

Posted by: Ben at Thu Jan 28 20:24:04 2016 (S4UJw)

4 Dammit, I should have specified "cross-country shipping of *durable goods*"

Posted by: Ben at Thu Jan 28 20:24:51 2016 (S4UJw)

5
It's my fault.  I stopped buying paper books.

http://brickmuppet.mee.nu/images/3bc.gif

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Thu Jan 28 20:56:20 2016 (AaBUm)

6

...privileged and confidential...

The usual term for that is "proprietary".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thu Jan 28 21:48:36 2016 (+rSRq)

7

There are a lot of reasons to expect a huge collapse soon. For one thing, the Fed cannot keep interest rates at zero forever, and as soon as they start raising then significantly it's going to shake the foundations.

But more importantly, China's bubble is about to burst.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Thu Jan 28 21:51:06 2016 (+rSRq)

8 Stopped buying paper books because my house was full.  Couple of books a week for 30 years = 3000 books.  And collectively they weigh, literally, a ton.

I have over 1000 books on my tablet now, which weighs half a pound.

No idea what's really up with global shipping, but there's certainly been a trend towards fewer, larger vessels.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thu Jan 28 23:41:14 2016 (PiXy!)

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