Dry CargoEurope

2017: the year for dry bulk owners to escape the bankers’ clutch

Jens Ismar, ceo of Norway’s Western Bulk Chartering, foresees a healthier year coming up for dry bulk, one where “many owners could be out of the bankers’ control 12 months from now”.

In an update today, the bulk veteran said: “Let us use the New Year’s celebration to put the worst dry bulk year in 30 years behind us and drink to a better 2017. Everything being normal we should have a better market ahead, although we do not foresee a big party any time soon.”

Western Bulk Chartering has had its fair share of financial mayhem during the bulk depression. It made a $7.4m loss in its latest quarterly results.

After a downturn in the first quarter, Ismar sees a return to a more normal trading environment.

The wildcards lying in the way as obstacles, as far as Ismar is concerned, are Chinese coal, newbuilding deliveries and scrapping.

“If these fall into the right place the industry may be more healthy and many owners could be out of the bankers’ control 12 months from now,” Ismar concluded.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Most owners will need a couple of years to get out of the bankers clutches as any owner who bought dry cargo vessels pre Q4 2015 will have a paid a sizeable premium compared to today’s prices and the freight market has only really picked up over the last 3-4 months so that owners can run their ships profitably.
    The worst is behind us and it is well worth buying a vintage vessel at these levels, especially for the Atlantic trades.

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