Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Singapore's Straits

Via Passport, a Foreign Policy blog, a Google Earth map showing the pile-up of cargo ships bobbing idly outside of Singapore.

It's a sign of the global economic times:
The world's busiest port for container traffic, Singapore saw its year-over-year volume drop by 19.6 percent in January 2009, followed by a 19.8 percent drop in February. As of mid-March 2009, 11.3 percent of the world's shipping capacity, sat idle, a record.
It's obviously a bad time to be a tiny city-state with few natural resources that's pretty much entirely dependent on trade for economic well-being:
The IMF projects that Singapore's economy will shrink significantly in 2009. Globally, bulk shipping rates have dropped more than 80 percent in the past year on weak demand, and orders for new shipping vessels are cratering. In Busan, South Korea, the fifth-largest port in the world, empty shipping containers are piling up faster than officials can manage.
If you want to follow cargo ships around the world in a nifty Google Earth app, go to vesseltracker.com.


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