World bulker and general cargo fleets to grow

The world fleet of dry bulk and general cargo vessels is expected to continue growing through 2012, in spite of weak freight rates and general overcapacity of tonnage, as new ships on order are delivered from shipyards, according to the latest Shipbuilding Market Forecast from Lloyd’s Register – Fairplay Research.

While scrapping of existing ships will also increase, it will not be sufficient to offset the massive influx of new ships, resulting in a net growth of tonnage in most segments of this market, which includes dry bulk carriers, general cargo ships, refrigerated cargo ships and dry cargo barges. The report notes that much of the current capacity consists of relatively new tonnage with plenty of years left in their service life, thereby slowing the removals to the scrap yards. The newbuilding orderbook for dry bulk carriers now comprises 3,359 ships totaling 292 million DWT, equal to 70 percent of existing fleet capacity. Even though bulk ship orders are highly exposed to cancellations and delayed delivery, this is accounted for in the forecast. “Even if deliveries were to be cut by half, bulk supply growth is still expected to outpace demand growth in 2009 and 2010, which will affect freight rate development trends negatively,” said Niklas Bengtsson, Project Manager and Senior Consultant, Lloyd’s Register – Fairplay Research. Likewise, the general cargo segment is expected to continue growing at 3.5 percent annually through 2012.

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