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Dry bulk carrier market, supply & demand balance

This post was created from the most recent Maritime Insight Shipbuilding and Fleet Forecast.

In October 2023 the dry bulk fleet stands for 967M dwt of the world total fleet of 2,253M teu or 43%. This is spread on 12,861 ships, which also makes it the most numerous merchant fleet. In Figure 6 the fleet is illustrated by the year of delivery, including the current orderbook to the right-hand side of the orange line.

Figure 6: Dry bulk carrier fleet, age profile, million dwt

Figure 6: Dry bulk carrier fleet, age profile, million dwt The average age of the fleet is 12 years but with big differences in between the ship sizes. Ships smaller than 10,000dwt have an average age of 28.3 years. There are 579 bulk carriers built before 1994 and 344 of them are smaller than 10,000dwt. The total capacity of the 579 ships is a mere 8.7M dwt which explains why they are barely visible in the age profile graph above.

The orderbook stands at 930 ships with a total dwt of 75M (8% of fleet capacity), 42M dwt are in the 60’-100’dwt segment. These ships are the ones used for many raw materials as well as steel for the growing markets within Asia.

The deliveries in 2023-2027 are forecast to 2,345 ships, which is 22% more than in 2018-2022. This compares to 199M dwt which only is 9% more than in the previous five years, due to the many 60’-100’dwt ships that will be delivered. These stands for 103M dwt of the total.

Figure 7 illustrates the removals of dry bulkers. 2011 and onwards the removals came in above 20M dwt yearly when the deliveries to fleet reached record levels. In 2018-2022 only 40M dwt were removed spread on 465 ships. The forecast forremovals in 2023-2027 is also cautious measured in dwt due to the age profile of the fleet, stopping at 45M dwt. However, removed capacity is forecast to grow at the end of the period and this will be the start of continued increased volumes of removals from this fleet.

In number of ships the forecast for removals until year end 2027 is that it will increase to 869, with 542 of the ships smaller than 60,000dwt , an 87% increase in numbers compared to the previous five years.

Figure 7: Removals from the dry bulker fleet, million dwt

This blog was made from the Maritime Insight Shipbuilding and Fleet Forecast, a monthly subscription service that has been keeping maritime and trade professionals informed on the composition of world fleet and it's expected trajectory for 20+ years.

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