Thursday, January 01, 2009
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Forest products supplier Weyerhaeuser Co. said Monday it has stopped trying to sell its seven ocean-going freighters, citing tight financial markets and weak demand for their maritime shipping services. The vessels, which Weyerhaeuser said in May it wanted to sell, are part of the company's Westwood Shipping Line unit and transport forest products between North America and Asian business partners in Japan, Korea and China. Weyerhaeuser still plans to sell Westwood Shipping four regional short-line railroads. Those rails are used primarily to supply U.S. mills, though third-party customers sometimes use them to transport grain and paper products, spokesman Bruce Amundson said.
Although Weyerhaeuser will continue to own and sail its ships, the company still aims to sell its four railroads.
Shipping demand has fallen off dramatically in recent months, as the economy weakened and tight credit kept some shippers from moving freight altogether. However, railroads have been less affected by the slowdown in freight hauling because of stronger demand in commodities, including coal and chemicals, and an ability to fetch higher prices.
"We did not feel that the current market conditions would allow us to recognize a reasonable value for our assets and operations," Guy Stephenson, Westwood Shipping Line president, said in a statement.
Shares of Weyerhaeuser fell 92 cents, or 3 percent, to $29.64 in afternoon trading.