We continue to see a lot of blanked voyages. Demand must not be shaping up to be very good after all, and prices just won’t stay up. What else would you expect if you make your customers guess about the inventory they have to carry. Once they have bitten that bullet, it will be hard to get them back into a non-competitive shipping mood.
This nice essay from Escalation Consultants, delivered on 5/21/2020, shows very large decreases in rail carloads after mid-March of 2020, approaching 30% for most carriers. Only Union Pacific is down by only 18%.
Another graph shows the differences by commodity.
Only grain and crushed stone are up. Coal and petroleum, the profit centers of the railroads, are way down, by more than 30%.
The article claims that one can take advantage of leverage to obtain favorable prices due to these steep declines in the Coronavirus economy.
I think the article bespeaks some hard times ahead for the big rails.
This interesting article shows how CargoMetrics is using data on ship lading, IoT readings, and vessel tracking to determine the amount of trade to and from China right now. the Coronavirus problem in China has essentially caused ocean commerce to and from China to plummet since Chinese New Year (CNY).
Bulk shipments such as iron ore and coal have dropped over 40% according to the article. Container shipments out of China have also dropped, probably due to the disruption of work schedules at Chinese manufacturers. There are also issues involving quarantine of ships and cargos due to the virus. The article is especially good when it uses graphs to show the changes.
Of course, this is a great promotion for Cargometrics’ capabilities. I think one would have to look closer to discover how well Cargometrics’s data truly represents the entire range of activity, but the trends shown are certainly marked.
One very interesting fact the article gives is that petroleum imports have not dropped yet; they are up by a considerable amount. This may be due, so they say, to the longer transit times. The ships may have to lie to near Chinese ports when they cannot unload due to the quarantines or port handling issues. The other shoe may yet fall even in the tanker business.