The global shipping industry is getting its biggest payday since 2008 as the combination of booming demand for goods and a global supply chain that’s collapsing under the weight of Covid-19 drives freight prices ever higher.

Whether its giant container ships stacked high with of 40-foot steel boxes, bulk carriers whose cavernous holds house thousands of tons of coal, or specialized vessels designed to pack in cars and trucks, earnings are soaring for ships of almost every type. 

With the merchant fleet hauling about 80% of world trade, the surge reaches into every corner of the economy. The boom back in 2008 brought with it a huge wave of new vessel orders, but the rally was quickly undone by a demand collapse when a financial crisis triggered the deepest global recession in decades.

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