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New software estimates almost 40 capesizes are in lay-up

Software under development by MarineTraffic.com estimates that 37 capesize bulk carriers (6.6m dwt in total) are currently laid up around the world, as of June 5.

This number is equivalent to 2.2% of the 1,703 capesizes currently on the water, according to data from VesselsValue.com.

MarineTraffic has been developing the draft software since the start of the year, the website’s data analyst Dimitris Mitrodimas said during a seminar today at Posidonia.

The system uses an algorithm to identify capesizes that are likely to be in lay up, based on factors such as the vessel’s last AIS signal, its idle time, location, last reported destination, draught and other data, Mitrodimas said.

The number of laid-up capesizes identified by the software week-by-week roughly tracks the trend shown by the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), he continued.

The highest level of capesize lay-ups was shown during the week commencing April 18 (week 16) this year. The BDI hit a six-month high of 715 points just a few days later, on April 27, showing how sensitively rates respond when vessels are removed from the trading fleet.

Although it is not mandatory for laid-up vessels to keep their AIS signal switched on, Mitrodimas said the system uses other indicators to maintain the reliability of its estimates, such as if the vessel is located in an area where other ships are often laid up.

Captain George Polychroniou, Tsavliris Salvage International’s operations manager, chimed in that vessels in hot lay-up usually do leave their AIS signal on because a skeleton crew remains onboard, while the signal is often turned off when vessels go into cold lay-up.

Splash is a partner of MarineTraffic.com and uses its data to identify vessels within our articles.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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