ContainersDry CargoEuropeOperations

Star Bulk’s ‘historic first’ shipment of 1,400 containers on a capesize

Both Braemar ACM and Alphaliner have identified Star Bulk of Greece as one of the first cape owners to receive class approval to fix one of its 175,000 dwt capesizes to ship containers.

Alphaliner reports the bulk carrier will carry a total of about 1,400 teu, including 200 laden boxes and 1,200 empties repositioned from Europe to China, providing a highly profitable ballast leg for the Petros Pappas-led firm in what the container analysts described as a “historic first”. Braemar ACM, meanwhile, stated the boxes would be carried on deck.

“The ongoing critical shortage of space onboard container vessels is pushing some desperate shippers to opt for rather creative ways of shipping their containers,” Alphaliner reported in its latest weekly report.

Star Bulk is not the only dry bulk owner readying to move containers with rumoured deals done for shipments on a range of sizes from capes down to supramaxes in recent weeks.

“The demand for container shipping is so strong that reverberations are leading exporters to charter bulk carriers for carrying containers,” the UK P&I Club, a leading ship insurer, noted in a recent update.

Splash has been in contact with a number of dry bulk shipowners this month who are currently in touch with class, flag and insurers, looking at making their ships capable of moving containers.

The dearth of cellular container tonnage in the charter market has also forced many companies to tap into the multipurpose (MPP) and open hatch bulk carrier (OHBC) markets to cover their needs this year, sending MPP rates into record territory.

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.


  1. Lots of welders needed. Then breakdown of external and internal coatings to which class will turn a blind eye. Fun times ahead for everyone.

  2. Until first major incident will occur. Then who will be to blame? “Seafarers of course, why they accept?”

  3. container analysts described as a “historic first”…………….these analysts must be suffering from memory loss.
    Bulkers were used frequently to carry empty containers around the world in the 1980’s. Your so-called analysts probably never heard of the Great Red Wall of CTI boxes in New York or the other piles in Rotterdam, etc.

  4. CAST used non-specialist vessels on the North Atlantic for a period in the 1970soffering discounted cargo rates. They carried cargo in the holds.

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