On today's Planet Money:
So there was a big shipping bubble that inflated about the same time the housing bubble did. It grew for some similar reasons — a go-go economy, easy credit, a belief that prices never decline, etc. And, like housing, it's now turned ugly.
Ships that cost more than $100 million a few years back now go for $40 million — and the rates for freight have fallen accordingly. Ship owners have gone bust, and their ships have been taken by the bank and sold at auction.
Also on the podcast: The Gorton's fisherman, and what the shipping bust has to do with torn fiber-optic lines in Singapore.