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LAYUPS, more layups and still more layups have been the talking point since shipping began to feel the pinch following the September 2008 crisis.

As the popular anchorages have begun to fill up, owners have been considering the merits of hot and cold lay-up and what the benefits might be, taking into account scrapping prices, oil price and other fluctuations.

So it is interesting to read in Tradewinds that liner shipping companies like Maersk, MOL, APL and Cosco have seen a significant fall in their laid up fleets during the last year. Container ships have after all been at the centre of the beating that shipping has been taking over the last 18 months.

As we all recover from the post Christmas belt-tightening experience, perhaps consumer confidence is coming back, with the knock on effect it will have on container shipments.

We all remember the terrible days when shipments of Teletubbies seemed likely to not make it in time for Christmas, blighting the hopes of Europe’s most youthful customers, most of whom are probably now unemployed graduates!

As the slow-steaming trend looks set to continue, the question is whether, with ships coming out of layup, there is a return of consumer confidence.

Perhaps, on the other hand, preparations are underway for summer freight rate negotiations?

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