Ships today are travelling 17.4% slower than before Lehman Brothers collapsed


Cargoes are taking ever longer to reach their destinations in the continued fallout shipping has felt from the global financial crisis 12 years ago.

Taking 2008 as its starting point, Clarkson Research Services has shown how shipping has slowed down further and further since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a trend that shows no sign of abating. Ships today travel 17.4% slower than they did back in 2008 (see chart below). The fall in certain sectors is ever larger such as containerships where average speeds have fallen by 25% over the last 12 years.

The 2008 starting date for the data is also important as that is the base year for the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 2050. Data from Clarkson last month shows shipping has slashed its CO2 emissions by 10.7% over the last 10 years.

During the first half of this year, the deepsea cargo fleet’s average speed fell by 1.4% compared to full year 2019. The notable exception so far this year has been in the buoyant crude tanker sector where average speeds increased 0.9% in the first six months of the year.

SAPEI - Control Service S.R.L. (c) 2021

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