Shipping association BIMCO has reported that the dry bulk fleet has grown by 2.7% to a three-year high for the first nine months of 2017.
BIMCO said it expected the sector to grow by a further 3.1% to 16 million deadweight tonnage (DWT) as demolition is lower than previously expected at 19 million DWT.
But the association also found that 2018 would be a slow year for growth, with figures rising by less than 1% when factoring in current ship orders and excluding future orders.
As the largest international shipping association, BIMCO has a duty to report its findings to its global membership of shipowners, operators, managers, brokers and agents so that they can make informed decisions on how to operate.
• Iron ore is down from 140 million tonnes in 2008 to 117 million tonnes in 2017
• Coking coal is down from 59 million tonnes in 2008 to 46 million tonnes in 2017
• Thermal coal is down from 156 million tonnes in 2008 to 128 million tonnes in 2017.
Learn why 2017 is shaping up to be another year of die-hard competition by reading the 'The Shipping Market Looking Forward' technical paper by Peter Sand, Chief Shipping Analyst, BIMCO
China took 436 million tonnes (52%) of global iron ore imports in 2008.
But the latest statistics reveal that for 2017, China secured 73% of the global seaborne market to take 1,075 million of 1,478 million tonnes.
In a market outlook report to its members, BIMCO said: “Should we look no further than China when it comes to dry bulk market demand? No, is the short answer – at least not in relation to steel production ingredients – iron ore and coking coal.
“For thermal coal, a few other nations are worth taking note of, in addition to China.
“Those are India, South Korea and Malaysia.
“Additionally, the US seems to have re-established itself as an option in the seaborne coking coal market, providing long distance voyages into Asia.
“Ever since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, the dry bulk market has only had one growth area: Asia.
“All other regions of the world contribute with steady or declining imports.”