New ships may hit freight rates

New ships on order amount to nearly a third of global shipping capacity, threatening to put downward pressure on dry-cargo freight rates this year due to high supply levels, according to data presented by a leading broker on Wednesday.

Figures presented by Cotzias Shipping Group showed that 7,142 new ships are on order, amounting to 421.5 million deadweight tons. The world fleet?s total deadweight tonnage stands at 1.430 billion.

John Cotzias, CEO of Cotzias Shipping Group, said the pace at which new ships set sale will determine fluctuations in freight rates as global trade conditions improve.

?We could see dry-cargo rates kept at 2010 levels this year. This is a best-case scenario,? he told Kathimerini English Edition on the sidelines of a press conference.

Average daily dry-cargo rates in 2010 rose to $16,035 (11,723 euros) from $13,679 in 2009, according to the broker. ?he figure stood at an average of $34,998 in 2008.

Shipping is a key source of income for Greece?s recession-hit economy, earning the country 14.1 billion euros in the first 11 months of last year, up from 12.2 billion in the same period a year earlier.