Drewry: Dry Bulk Charter Rates on Road to Recovery

Charter rates on major dry bulk shipping routes are expected to recover due to increasing trade and contracting supply, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.

“Demand for coal-carrying vessels will increase in the coming quarters because Japan has decided to increase its coal-fired power generation, while China plans to cut domestic coal production which will increase import demand,” Rahul Sharan, Drewry’s lead analyst for dry bulk shipping, said.

Macroeconomic policy decisions by the Chinese authorities have had an impact on the overall dry bulk market, increasing vessel demand on key routes resulting in a steady recovery in charter rates. China’s efforts to revive its economy have helped the iron ore trade to revive and are expected to further boost tonne-mile demand, as Drewry envisages more of the commodity coming out of Brazil.

On the investment side, tighter financing options and restrained new ordering have helped the dry bulk market to keep supply in check so far. A high number of slippages and cancellations would impede any substantial growth in deliveries over the next few years, Drewry said, adding that demolition of ever-younger vessels is expected to result in a slowdown in fleet growth this year.

And a similar rate of demolition and delivery in the next year will help deflate oversupply further. Demand growth, which seemed to be an unlikely prospect throughout last year and the early part of 2016, has been helping the dry bulk market come off the bottom.

Drewry expects freight rates on the Brazil-China and Australia-China iron ore routes for Capesize vessels to strengthen over the next two quarters, but the return of laid-up vessels to trading could disrupt the expected improvement.

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