Dry Cargo

Large handy bulker fleet size surpasses 1,000 ships for the first time

The circa 38,000 dwt large handy bulker fleet size has reached the milestone of 1,000 ships, with six new deliveries and another 35 on order for 2022, data from Braemar ACM shows. This segment now accounts for 40% of total handysize capacity, though just 4% of total dry bulk fleet in dwt terms.

The handysize segment has evolved over the years from being in the 28,000 dwt range, then heading up to the 33,000 – 34,000 dwt sizes before expanding further to 38,000 dwt, largely thanks to demand for larger stem sizes out of Japan

“Unlike the Ultramax or Kamsarmax designs which only surfaced 10-15 years ago, the Large Handy ships have been around for several decades. However, the popularity and fleet size has risen sharply from circa 2010,” Braemar ACM noted in an update to clients this week.

From 1985 to 2010, the fleet size for large handies remained flat with about 450 to 500 vessels; but since then, the number of vessels has more than doubled to reach 1,004 ships, amounting to 37.7m dwt as of today.

The large handy fleet is very young with 65% of vessels less than 10 years of age.

“With limited ordering for Large Handy ships and a growing demand base for grains and minor bulks, the prospects for these vessels are encouraging,” Braemar ACM predicted, going on to forecast that the large handy fleet will reach 43.4m dwt by the end of 2026, growing at at annual rate of 3.7% from a 2021 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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