Dry CargoEurope

Dry bulk net fleet growth lowest since 2004: Belships

Belships’ latest quarterly results paint some faint hope of optimism for the hard-pressed dry bulk sector.

“New vessel ordering is now down to almost zero and the high scrapping activity continues. Scrapping, cancellations and conversions together with very little new ordering are helping to mitigate the net supply growth, which for 2015 is expected to be about 2.5%. We have to go back to 2003-04 to find equally low net fleet growth figures,” the company said in a release to the Oslo Bors.

Belships, which suffered a net loss of $4.2m for the third quarter on the back of $4.5m impairment loss on its fleet value, pointed towards China for reason for hope.

“International iron ore prices are still very low, and the likely effect for shipping is that China will be forced to shut down loss-making inland production and import more of its iron ore, helping to absorb some of the tonnage overcapacity,” the company stated, adding: “This will be of vital importance for the capesize segment going forward. The smaller sized vessels will benefit from a growing Chinese imports of minor bulks like bauxite, fertilizer, soya beans and grains. Chinese steel mills have increased their efforts to sell more of their output abroad to make up for the slowing domestic demand, and recent trade figures indicate record high exports of steel. This steel export trade will also benefit the smaller vessel sizes.”

Belships which has two shops to deliver to add to its existing four-strong bulker fleet made clear in its quarterly announcement of its intention “to further increase the fleet of high quality dry bulk carriers in tandem with a growing customer base”.


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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