Thursday, 23 October 2008
Looks like we won't be getting much overtime!
NEPTUNE Orient Lines’ boss Ron Widdows is warning of grim times ahead for the container trades, with ships laid up and orders cancelled as the industry heads into an unprecedented slump. While the situation is not so bad now, the worst is yet to come, Mr Widdows told Lloyd’s List in an interview after yesterday announcing swingeing cuts in capacity. “We are in for a relatively unpleasant 18 months to two years,” he said. NOL’s container shipping arm APL has already started to re-let some ships back into the market over the last two months, and it will be laying up vessels, he said. “Others will have to do the same. From the industry standpoint, vessels will be idle.” Mr Widdows, who was attending the graduation ceremony of the Maritime Economics and Logistics students of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said he was pleased that NOL only has eight newbuildings on order, and that “they are not really big”. These are due to enter service in 2011. The orderbook is “relatively small compared to the three largest carriers in the world”. “Every ship we employ can be employed anywhere on the planet,” Mr Widdows said. He added that the industry is about to see an “object lesson in the dynamics of the larger ship”. The costings only work when these gigantic ships are full and desperation could creep in when trying to fill these behemoths, he said.