The Port Of Singapore Is Eerily Quiet... Too Quiet


Temasek Hedge highlights how these days Singapore’s port has become too quiet. The Financial Times agrees.

Temasek Hedge: These days, though, the view is obscured by hundreds of ships lying at anchor, some of them part of the estimated 10 per cent of the world container fleet idled due to lack of business. At the ultra-modern Pasir Panjang container terminal, stacks of empty containers piled up behind protective fencing tell a similar story.

You can see it for yourself. Just take a drive on the AYE/ECP, and note the number of crane “birds” that are standing up. If they are up, it means they are idle. Of course, FT notes that the silence is not just confined to Singapore. All other ports are suffering too.

We should note that Dubai aims to be transhipment hub, a meeting point for goods before they are shipped to elsewhere, like Singapore.

The problem for cities like Singapore and Dubai though is that everyone wants to be a hub now. Thus even a rebound in world container shipping trade, perhaps driven by a moderate recovery for the U.S. consumer, might not be enough to provide much container shipping growth to Singapore, because port capacity all over the world will have likely grown faster. Ports will be undercutting each other.

Singapore is a far more sustainable model than Dubai, but it wouldn’t take much to rock its relatively small economy. A prolonged trade slump could be enough.

The picture above shows a recent snapshot of the ships sitting idle around Singapore. Check out the actual live, updated image here. Just don’t expect much action. They aren’t moving.

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