Looks like the Ro-ro’s are rolling less.

Ro-roWell, it looks like the Ro-ro carrier business is taking a few lumps. For the record Roll on/roll off carriers (Ro-ro) are sea-faring container ships designed to transport wheeled cargo. Automobiles, trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars are freight that can be driven off the transport ship on their own wheels, thus coined the term Ro-ro. If you looked at recent number lately, it seems that much isn’t rolling.

Two big players in international auto shipping NYK line (100 plus ships) and MOL are planning to send 15 + Ro-ro’s straight to the scrap yard.

The global financial crisis and aging of some of the ships has forced the two companies to decommission a number of  vessels to stay competitive. Both companies have new vessels on order but capacity remains high. The glut of capacity is growing because 95 new car carriers with a combined capacity to carry 500,000 vehicles are scheduled for delivery this year. Another 90 ships of 470,000-vehicle capacity are set to arrive in 2010.

A joint Norwegian-Swedish car carrier that operates about 65 vessels, announced in March that it expects to lay up 15 to 20 percent of its fleet this year amid a 30 to 40 percent decline in automobile shipments. It said, however, it would maintain all its trades and port coverage. The $2.3 billion company handles some 2.3 million vehicles a year on 20 routes.

~ Francis

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