Old ships sail on as prices soar on supply chain chaos

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Ynes Benotmane, cargo analyst at VesselsValue, explained that owners are “refraining from sending their older tonnage for demolition, opting instead to seek out opportunities to increase their exposure to the high rates”.

He added: “Age is but a number for bulkers in the current market, with unprecedented demand fueling decade high earnings and lucrative sale and purchase deals.”

The supply chain chaos that has marred global trade in 2021 are expected to spill over into next year, adding to building inflationary pressures. The omicron surge threatens to exacerbate supply problems after ports in Asia were closed to contain outbreaks earlier this year.

However, analysts expect pressures to eventually ease amid signs of cooling shipping costs.

The Baltic Dry Index – which tracks shipping costs for major raw materials – has more than halved since its record peak in October. Container shipping costs also declined in November for the first time since June 2020.

“As labour supply problems throughout logistics supply chains abate and shortages in warehousing space are addressed, seaborne freight looks set to recover in the second half of 2022,” said Kiki Sondh, economist at Oxford Economics.

“As governments and companies in the transportation and logistics industry increase measures to address inland logistical issues and port congestion, we expect shipping cost pressures to gradually wind down from their meteoric highs over the course of 2022.”

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