These last few months I noticed companies are FINALLY putting armed guards on the vessels to combat piracy.
I suggested this be done 2 years ago, but it's only now companies have decided to do so. Wallenius was the most recent carrier.
From The Journal of Commerce
"Swedish shipowner Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines is placing armed guards to protect its vessels from attack by Somalia-based pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
The decision following an investigation by Sweden’s government puts Wallenius, which transports cars and trucks on worldwide routes, firmly if reluctantly on one side of an issue that has divided the shipping world as pirate attacks on international ships off the East Africa coast have grown increasingly frequent, bold and deadly.
Wallenius said the guards are equipped with sniper rifles and assault rifles."
And, on the financial side of container shipping, I noticed carriers backed off on their huge "peak season" surcharges. The carriers are going to be once again in tough times, with supply exceeding demand.
China's economy has started to slow. News reports here in the U.S. claim many companies have started to move production from China to the U.S., which will mean less goods for carriers to haul.
Of course, the U.S. is becoming a smaller player in the world, and the growing middle classes of India, China, and other countries will outstrip the demand of the U.S. for consumer goods.