Greater China

Cosco overtakes BBC Chartering to become the largest multipurpose operator in the world

Guangzhou-based Cosco Shipping Specialized Carriers has taken over, not for the first time, from BBC Chartering as the world’s largest multipurpose operator by deadweight, according to an annual survey carried out by Dynamar. Cosco and BBC dominate the sector, each having twice as much as tonnage as any other competitor.

Cosco’s newbuilding programme initiated in 2013 saw another six ships delivered last year, taking it past its German rival into top spot. BBC during the last year offloaded 13 ships from its fleet. Cosco’s 1.76m dwt stood some 82,000 dwt above BBC’s fleet as of last month.

As of early January 2018, the 10 largest operators – by deadweight – of multipurpose/project/heavylift tonnage combined deployed a fleet of 460 ships with a total deadweight of 8.14m tons and an aggregate lifting capability of 147,000 tons. The ships’ average age is eight years. Overall capacity has remained exactly the same in terms of ships compared to January 2017 while capacity is just 2% higher.

On the market outlook, Dynamar was bullish for prospects for the global economy and by extension the breakbulk sector.

“The breakbulk industry should undoubtedly benefit from this global recovery and enjoy an uptick in volumes,” the report noted, adding: “The effects of the 2016 and 2017 -not yet ended- consolidation wave, together with a very low orderbook for multipurpose/project/heavy-lift tonnage, and this in combination with the expected economic recovery should see breakbulk operators writing dark grey ink again by the end of 2018.”

The “dark grey” ink would have been “deep dark black” Dynamar mooted had it not been for car carriers and containerlines eating into the breakbulk space.

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.
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