The photo above exposes what is called the “ghost fleet of the recession” and was shown on Mail Online where hundreds of ships were shown on anchor off the straits of Singapore simply rusting. There is a large amount of excess slack in shipping. The number of ships lie at anchor east of Singapore and is bigger than the US and British navies combined! There is no crew, cargo or destination.
Vesseltracker.com provides a real time ship tracker function that can be used by Google Earth. I loaded the data file and took at look at China and in particular the Nanjing area where a lot of LCD panels are modularized. LG Display has a LCD module factory in Nanjing and recently Sharp has been in talks with China Electronics Corp. (CEC) to build a G8 TFT LCD fabrication plant there. Let’s take a look.
The red indicates ships that are out of spot/charter and currently unused. The green indicates an operating ship. As you can see from the snapshot above there are a lot of unused cargo ships coming out of the Nanjing area. There are some operating ships and I hope those carry LCD modules to be integrated into LCD TVs in Mexico. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to know if that is the case from where I am sitting. I am worried that there might not be enough actual demand for LCD goods in the Western Europe and North America regions to warrant recent high expectations in the fourth quarter this year.