Dry Cargo

Kamsarmax fleet surpasses 100m dwt capacity, stretches away from panamax forebears

The kamsarmax fleet has hit the 100m dwt milestone, according to new data from Braemar ACM, with a strong start to the year in terms of newbuild deliveries.

A total of 16 kamsarmaxes have been delivered so far this year, adding 1.3% in terms of dwt capacity to this dry bulk segment.

Kamsarmaxes – essentially oversize panamaxes – first hit the waters in 2005. The first of this now popular ship type was built by Japan’s Tsuneishi Shipbuilding. The 80,000 dwt prototype was called a kamsarmax, being the largest size vessel that could then enter Port Kamsar, a bauxite export zone in Guinea. Since the first ship delivered, kamsarmaxes have become increasingly popular – made more so when the Panama Canal expanded its locks five years ago. In the last couple of years, the number of kamsarmaxes has actually surpassed their panamax forebears (see chart below).

Standard panamaxes have seen a decline in fleet size so far this year, with six vessels removed and only one delivery in the opening weeks of 2021, resulting in a fall in carrying capacity of nearly 1%.

Braemar ACM expects another 66 kamsarmaxes to be delivered in 2021, representing 5% of the current fleet. Meanwhile, only six panamaxes are scheduled for delivery over the remainder of 2021 further widening the gap between these two dry bulk segments.

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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