If the recession is over, there's little evidence for it in container trade. August's Harpex continued to bump along the bottom, actually reaching a new low last week.
In a cogent piece in Scotland's Herald, Douglas Hamilton warns of a crisis ahead for German ship operators; Hapag-Lloyd 'needs 1.75bn to stay afloat' (Euros? Dollars?) and he points out that 'Many became wealthy in the years of the boom, including ship owners, bankers and investors, particularly in Hamburg. Germans own 35% of the container ships in operation worldwide, and close to 60 shipping banks and financiers are headquartered in Hamburg.'
With few operators confident enough to order new keels laid, and as older vessels leave the market, there is also the danger that the current overcapacity will swing to a dangerous undercapacity at some stage in the recovery. But no-one ever promised that globalisation would be easy.