Erm, yes, well, Telegraph?

So, talking about shipping. And the lead part is about Hanjin and container shipping.

Which they illustrate with a chart of dry bulk and crude carrier rates – the other two part of the market.

Doesn’t get better:

Before the recession, tanker freight rates were in the region of $45 a metric tonne, according to the information provider S&P Global Platts. Over this past summer the rate averaged just $9 a metric tonne, and it slipped below $5 a tonne the day Hanjin folded.

No, really, just no. It never did cost $9 million to rent a 200k tonne tanker. Not for any trip anywhere. And it doesn’t cost $1.8 million now.

I think our journalist might have got confused between the day rate and the per tonne rate.

19 thoughts on “Erm, yes, well, Telegraph?”

  1. Thing that gets me is all of the people who write this garbage will be university educated. And graduated. And one would presume the essence of a university education was to read up on a subject, comprehend it & get the result down on paper. To graduate
    I can only presume they’re either fixing the results or the whole process is hazardous to the intellect. Or more likely, both.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    I second BiS. The perils of credentialism. They should employ someone who knows the subject, or at least knows enough to know what they do not know. Instead they employ someone with an Oxbridge degree who does not have the wisdom to question how much they actually do know.

    Or even worse, people with Media Studies degrees.

    Ecks is right. Shut them down.

  3. Bloke in Spain and the now resurrected and much welcome SMFS are both absolutely right, but based on my experience I am afraid even tertiary education from a prestigious institution does not guarantee the graduate has even elementary skills of research nor the ability to fact check the essentials. I would hazard a combination of an obsession with League tables combined with the near total domination of the Politically correct across the whole education system has combined toxically to produce a generation who cannot think Beyond very narrow parameters, and have no ability to find things out for themselves or consider two sides of an argument.

    The future does not look bright for anyone given the US is in an even worse state. Where should people looking to survive the coming cataclysm escape to?

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    In the age of the Internet and gig economy is there a even a role for a generalist journalist? How long would it take to find and commission a piece by someone with knowledge of the industry? The same goes for just about any story.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    I was thinking more work for the likes of you. I suppose it would remove the raison d’être of this blog if all articles were written by people who knew what they were writing about. There’d still be stupid opinion pieces, though.

  6. I find this particularly irritating because, a while ago, I got involved in container shipping. Which meant, from a standing start, comprehending the complexities of shipping conditions & rates, customs requirements (in foreign), insurance etc Complicated by the traffic being between two countries not the one I’m in & financed out of a fourth.
    The only university education I’ve had was researching likely totty in student union bars.
    But I do have a considerable amount of dosh at stake.


  7. @BiND
    “How long would it take to find and commission a piece by someone with knowledge of the industry? ”
    How many people in the media would have the basic ability to do this? They’d probably start by canvassing the people they were at uni with.


    Link for the interested.

    The Hanjin farrago isn’t really all that much about shipping, which has been on its arse for a number of years. Bulk rates have been down for yonks (Timmy has written about the gyrations of the BDI), oil is lower (partially thanks to shale in the US, I suspect) but still profitable enough for my greek customers to be ordering VLCC’s with regularity, especially where the shipyards are really competing for business now. LNG is buoyant (ho!) and Shell/BP in hand with Stasco/Nakilat are continuing with the QMax programme of tankers.

    The truth is that the really huge vessels aren’t delivering financially in the less confident parts of the industry- Same as the ULCC’e like Jahre Giant/Knock Nevis back in the 80’s. That’s not indicative of a systemic problem with shipping, tho’.

    No, I think the real problem here is Korea’s Chaebols and the way they get propped up until it’s too late, and the same pattern can be seen in Busan’s shipyards. All the other freight lines outside of Korea are merging or forming alliances, same as the bulker and tanker operators who were feeling the squeeze did.

    This is more a Korean issue than a shipping one.

  9. Be nice if shipping rates were changing that much.
    Since the Brexit vote and the currency exchange rate changes I had within days emails from most of my suppliers about expected price hikes as the cost of shipping goods was higher.
    Not a massive price hike but even 10% hits hard.

  10. “one would presume the essence of a university education was to read up on a subject, comprehend it & get the result down on paper.”

    That’s the part of the essence of education, not just university education. It used to start with precis exercises in junior school and continue through O and A levels. And those who were adept at it usually went to university. Now, many who get to university are sub-literate; and the universities can’t remedy the deficiencies of the school system.

  11. “Now, many who get to university are sub-literate”

    Christ, many postgrads are too.

    I think I object more to the folks who count themselves as educated because they have a degree, but know nothing about stuff that’s not within their narrow field of interest.

  12. Otoh, I graduated as an electronic engineer. I wouldn’t have the foggiest clue nowadays*. CEng et al, but moved in to a completely different area.

    * I still get, and could use, all the stuff at the back of Maplins but that’s hardly commercial engineering. Although I may have a casual gig with one of the extreme high-end audio manufacturers.

  13. ” Although I may have a casual gig with one of the extreme high-end audio manufacturers.”

    Lord, I love posh hifi. I mean, I’m mostly deaf, and don’t have the time to properly listen to stuff nowadays, but if I had a lottery win, I’d be indulging like Keith Vaz at a Polish builders convention.

  14. Just out of interest, how much does it cost to rent a 200,000 tonne tanker? I honestly have no sense of a ballpark figure, so my bullshit detector is non-functional in this instance.

    I’ve said it before: one of the besetting sins of the modern journalist is his near-complete innumeracy, which robs him of the ability to see a figure and instantly know it is wrong (without needing to know the precise, correct figure).

  15. @BiCR

    Honest answer: There’s not really a useful average: it depends on the vessel, the form of charter (barebones, crewed), the additional obligations, (and critically) the route itself and so on. Google “shelltime 4” if you want an idea of a fairly standard charter party agreement.

    An idea of cash day rates can be had here: and there’s various sources for the indices across the web. Also, bunkers are cheap at the moment (c$250 per tonne), so the running costs are low.

    Less honest, but more useful answer- I know of at least one oil major that charters VLCC’s at £13k per day, but have seen much higher prices. Equally, I’m sure you can get a bargain on the spot market at the moment, especially if you are happy to spring for hull cleans and propeller polishes on top of a lengthy charter term.

  16. John Square: Thanks for the information. Comments such as yours are what makes this blog so interesting. (You’re good too, TimW).

  17. Interesting. Some Googling tells me that apparently I could ship a 20′ container from Portsmouth to Limón for about two grand.

  18. My late father’s dictum was that ‘90% of everything is shit’, delivered in German. He applied it rigorously to everything, including himself.

    He especially applied it to professionals and tradesmen he wished to hire, then even more rigorously as he carefully watched them work.

    But for his dictum he would have been surprised at any surprise at incompetence.

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