Gone are the days when square-riggers, East Indiamen and clipper ships lined the wharves of port cities. But shipping goods by sea remains a mainstay of trade. Here are stories on the industry--the politics and challenges of trade among them. Please e-mail any stories I may have missed.

As shipping slows, banks and carriers fear loan defaults (NYT, Nov. 12, 2009)
When Eastwind Maritime, a medium-size carrier company, went bankrupt this summer, few banks in the United States took notice. But in Europe, where banks hold over $350 billion of increasingly dubious shipping industry loans, the inability of Eastwind, which is based in New York,to handle its debt of more than $300 million set off an anxiety attack on lending desks across the Continent.

Shipping News: Week of Oct. 25, 2009

Op-ed: The thin green line: Does shipping need a sea change (San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 30, 2009)
This morning's oil spill in the bay, nearly two years to the date from the infamous Cosco Busan incident, is a stark reminder of the environmental hazards posed by shipping. The Panamanian oil tanker vessel spilled bunker oil, which powers most ships. It is the gunky stuff literally from the bottom of the barrel of oil. It contains high concentrations of sulfur and is 1,000 times dirtier than the diesel fuel that trucks use. Some green groups have called on the shipping industry to use cleaner fuel. Biofuels would be great, but even more refined fossil fuels would be a start.

Op-ed: Cleaner shipping (Anchorage Daily News, Oct. 29, 2009)
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed ambitious air pollution limits for U.S.-flagged oceangoing vessels -- cruise ships, container ships, tankers -- within 200 miles of any coast in most of North America, including a large swath of Alaska.

Week of Oct. 18, 2009

'Carbon War Room' takes aim at shipping (NYT, Oct. 12, 2009)
The Carbon War Room, a new and self-described “philanthropic initiative” aiming to fight climate change with help from entrepreneurs, is stepping into the limelight with its first target: the shipping industry.

A new route beyond the Last Frontier (LA Times, Oct. 11, 2009)
Reporting from Nome, Alaska - Most days in Nome, you're not likely to run into anybody you didn't see at the Breakers Bar on Friday night. More than 500 roadless miles from Anchorage, rugged tundra and frigid Bering Sea waters have a way of discouraging visitors.

Week of Oct. 4, 2009

Maine must not cede rights to maritime transit (Bangor Daily News, Oct. 10, 2009)
There is much that binds Maine and New Brunswick together. We have a long and shared history, common borders and many joint economic opportunities. During my term as governor, I have worked hard to increase cross-border cooperation on a number of issues critical to both sides.