More than 25 dry-bulk ships in the broader area of Piraeus have been withdrawn, while another 600 requests to that effect have been submitted to the port authorities by shipowners, highlighting the crisis that has engulfed the dry-bulk market, in which a large number of Greek shippers are involved, according to the Pioneer Marine shipping company.
The decline of dry-bulk chartering rates to historic lows last month, after the particularly low levels recorded in 2015, has sent the operation of a dry-bulk carrier into loss-making territory as the revenues from chartering are insufficient to cover daily operating expenses such as fuel, wages, supplies etc. Given that there is no rebound to be seen on the horizon, some shipowners have chosen to withdraw their vessels until there is marked improvement in rates.
Officials at Singapore-base Pioneer Marine, which has an office in Athens, say the current situation is likely to continue at least up until the end of the year’s first half. At that point a notable improvement is anticipated thanks to measures taken by shipowners since the start of the year regarding the decline in ship supply, primarily by sending the global fleet’s older vessels to the shipbreaking yards. In January alone a total of 4.5 million tons of capacity exited the global dry-bulker fleet.
Nevertheless a recent estimate by Allied Shipbroking noted that it will take the withdrawal of another 1,430 ships for the world’s fleet to return to the level seen at the start of 2012 (8,165 dry-bulkers) and a restoration of the balance of supply and demand for the chartering market to recover.