Dry Cargo

Secondhand bulk market heading for record year as 279 ships trade hands so far

The ownership of dry bulk ships has changed hands at blistering speed in the first three months of 2021. The course is now set for a record year in the dry bulk ship sale and purchase market, according to analysis from shipping organisation, BIMCO.

A total of 794 ships were bought and sold in 2020, with handysizes and supramaxes being the most popular. Not even three months into 2021 and 279 dry bulk ships have been traded, with panamaxes being the most popular single ship size and accounting for 82 of the trades.

The high demand for dry bulk ships at the start of this year is also reflected in fast rising asset values. For example, a 15-year-old panamax ship is now worth 47.4% more than it was on January 1 2021, an increase of almost $4m.

Fundamentally the longer-term trends in the dry bulk market are not ones which support a prolonged upturn

“The current strength of both the freight and the sale and purchase market inevitably leads to questions as to how long it will last. While there has been much talk of a new commodities supercycle, BIMCO’s expectation remains more down to earth. The current strength of the market should be enjoyed for as long as it lasts; fundamentally the longer-term trends in the dry bulk market are not ones which support a prolonged upturn,” said Peter Sand, BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst.

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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