July 5, 2012
China’s huge fleet of coastal ships, usually confined to plying the Chinese seaboard, has sailed out of the shadows to seek international business in yet another sign that China’s economy is slowing.
The fleet, previously unnoticed by the global market, is suffering from a slowdown in China’s coastal trade amid weaker domestic demand from utilities and steel mills and a growing glut in Chinese coal and iron ore stockpiles.
The vessels are now being forced to seek new business such as in the Indonesian coal trade, dealing a further blow to the depressed global dry bulk shipping market.
“There are many more ships lying idle at Chinese ports now – the environment for making money is not so good,” said a source at one of the big five coastal shippers, who asked not to be identified.