Key Asian shipping lines including Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) and China’s Cosco are suffering from falling demand as a result of the global economic slowdown.

In a statement, state-owned NOL said that the company’s Q3 loss was $99.38m compared with $25m profit for the same period in 2008.

The company’s revenue also fell by $1.12bn, according to NOL chief executive officer Ron Widdows.

“Container shipping freight rates remain at uneconomic levels,” Widdows said.

In 2009, COSCO reported a 22% decrease in cargo volume.

The shipping line’s revenue from the container shipping segment, excluding revenue from vessels chartered out, also came to $8.8bn; down 56% year-on-year.