2024 Forecast: Modest Growth For Dry Bulk Trade

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Ship Scrapping Trends

According to ISL, the average number of ships scrapped each year over the first half of the past 12 years was more than 400, with an average total carrying capacity of 26.5 million dwt per year. In 2023, however, only 91 units with a capacity of 5.1 million dwt were scrapped, which is slightly more than 20% of the previous average. Despite this, there has been a 16.6% increase in scrapping compared to the previous year. Notably, two-thirds of the scrapped tonnage came from the Handymax (22%) and Panamax (44%) size classes.

Nevertheless, the bulk carrier fleet grew by 3.1% between January 2023 and January 2024, which is primarily attributable to the rapid increase in deliveries to the fleet. Last year, 461 new ships (33.6 million dwt) entered service, which corresponds to an increase in deliveries of almost 11%.

Maritime Trade in Dry Bulk Goods

The development of maritime trade in dry bulk goods is a reliable indicator of the global economy’s state. In 2022, the transport volume of ores, coal, and grain fell by a total of 2.8% to 5.3 billion tons. However, a significant increase in transport volume of around 3.9% was expected for 2023, partly due to economic recovery in China and other important markets. For 2024, experts expect much lower growth of around 1.2%.

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Source: Safety4Sea