ISL reports that, in contrast to the first half of the last 12 years—when an average of over 400 ships were scrapped annually with a combined carrying capacity of 26.5 million dwt per year—only 91 ships, with a total capacity of 5.1 million dwt, were scrapped in 2023. This figure represents just over 20% of the previous average. Nonetheless, there has been a 16.6% increase in scrapping within this segment compared to the previous year. Notably, two-thirds of the scrapped tonnage comes from the Handymax (22%) and Panamax (44%) size classes, according to ISL.

Despite the increase in scrapping, the bulk carrier fleet grew by 3.1% between January 2023 and January 2024, primarily due to a surge in new deliveries. Last year saw the addition of 461 new ships (33.6 million dwt) to the fleet, reflecting an almost 11% increase in deliveries.

Charting New Waters: Med Marine Unveils MED-A2800 Series Tug for IGMAR Charting New Waters: Med Marine Unveils MED-A2800 Series Tug for IGMAR

The evolution of maritime trade in dry bulk goods serves as a reliable indicator of the global economy's health. Although the transport volume of ores, coal, and grain fell by 2.8% to 5.3 billion tons in 2022, a significant recovery with a 3.9% increase in transport volume was anticipated for 2023, driven in part by economic improvements in China and other key markets. Looking ahead to 2024, experts predict a more modest growth rate of around 1.2%.