Container market to pick up by year-end: Maersk

Container vessel chartering rates have probably hit bottom and the container ship chartering market is likely to pick up at the end of 2009, said the head of Maersk Broker, one of the world’s largest shipbrokers.

The global freight market has been hit hard by slowing trade due to the economic downturn, and container shippers have reported sharp decreases in freight volumes and rates.’In our opinion the container vessel chartering rates have generally reached the bottom. They could remain there for a while, but it won’t get much worse than now,’ Maersk Broker chief executive Jorn Nielsen told Reuters last week.
The privately owned Danish firm’s core business includes chartering of container vessels, tankers and bulk carriers, contracting new vessels and sale and purchase of ships.The broker’s owner is also the biggest shareholder of world No 1 container shipper A P Moller-Maersk.Mr Nielsen said in an interview he saw the container chartering market stabilising in 2010. ‘Our estimate is that, when you get a little further ahead, maybe at the end of 2009, it’s beginning to look slightly brighter,’ he said. ‘We base that on our view of the world economy,’ he added.’When we put our ear to the ground, we actually see reason to hope that this crisis is about to settle.’After years of booming business, the shipping industry is struggling with overcapacity as ships ordered years ago have become ready for delivery in the midst of the economic downturn.

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