Friday, October 09, 2009

Shipwrecks, then and now

The WSJ has a couple of stories today about shipwrecks.

First, is a story about efforts being taken to try to prevent further damage to the archaeologically significant old wrecks in the English Channel: Saving the Wrecks of the Channel

The second, along a theme Guambat has mentioned before, talks about the economically significant new wrecks in the container ship market: Rough Seas Slow to Calm for Container Shippers
Rates have risen for other kinds of shipping, such as tankers, but are expected to stay depressed for container-shipping companies for at least the next year.

Container-shipping rates even dropped to zero in January on the Asia-to-Europe route as brokers waived fees and charged only for fuel costs.

That crimps the companies' ability to make payments on ships they ordered when shipping rates were high. At the same time, the value of the ships they already own has fallen.

Both factors make it harder for companies such as CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd AG to keep debt covenants with banks. Last week, CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container-shipping company by capacity, said it was in talks to restructure its $5.2 billion in debt. The German government has extended €1.2 billion ($1.76 billion) in state-loan guarantees to Hapag-Lloyd.

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