"The seizure of the credit markets has lead to a tightening ofthe credit available for the day to day operation of the sector,"he observes. "Letters of credit, or trade credit, required tofinance individual cargos, has dried up because of the financialsector crisis."

Even before the collapse of freight rates, he says questionswere being asked about the bankability of the new building orderbook. As noted in a previous GlobeSt.com article, the UK's DrewryShipping Consultants report some 65 new ships in excess of 8,000TEUs will launch in the next two years, despite slowing demand. Theeconomic impact will be felt not just by ship owners, says Luke,but also by the shipyards.

"Some might have viewed [the excess shipbuilding] as a necessaryrelease of the supply side pressure that has built up during the'super cycle'," says Luke. "Whilst deposits would be lost and nodoubt contractual disputes generated in the shipping sector, thepain would inevitably be shared with the yards."

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