Dry Cargo

Brokers cannot agree how many dry bulk ships exist

Extraordinarily varying data sets are making business decisions very hard for the world’s supra and handy owners.

Analysis by Alphabulk, part of AXS Marine, shows a huge variance – close to 1,000 ships – on the existing total bulker fleet (see chart below).

Alphabulk took the bulker fleet numbers from four leading brokers – BRS (its parent), Clarkson, SSY and Braemar ACM and found there was a staggering 977 ship difference between the highest and lowest bulker tallies. The variance was also significant among the four brokers when it came to the bulker newbuild orderbook with a 150-ship difference noted between the highest and lowest tally.

While the numbers for capes and panamaxes are broadly similar, the real divergence comes in the smaller segments, the supramaxes and handysizes.

“[I]t seems that the bigger the ship the higher the consensus on numbers, and the smaller the ship the lower the consensus,” Alphabulk noted in its most recent weekly report, concluding the article by warning: “Just remember that there is probably 20% extra capacity hidden in slow speed!”


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. Newbuild book likely varies mostly because of options which
    may or may not be exercised. Such huge variation on
    existing vessels makes no sense, considering the massive
    numbercrunching available to the industry these days.
    What do the research depts at the brokers say??

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