Rates have continued to slide to barely cover operating expenses, as the competing sectors of container ships and bulk carriers have weakened the MPV market ever further in their search for market share, Drewry says. The container lines lost billions of dollars as they filled slots no matter what, whilst the Handy bulk carriers struggled with the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) reaching record lows of below 300 index points on the back of continued oversupply and weak demand.
Toward the end of the third quarter came news of one of the container lines heading to the bankruptcy courts, whilst heavy lift carriers Thorco and UHL joined forces to "offer a full range of services." Shippers may have to decide whether their main driver is price or quality, especially when they are putting high value cargo on these ships.
While there has been a brief upturn in container rates, it is likely to be short lived and not significant enough to take the lines away from the breakbulk sector, according to Drewry shipping analysts. But the BDI is on the turn and moved back over 1000 points at the end of August. Drewry does see an upturn in dry cargo trade over the forecast period and dry bulk trade in particular. Indeed, although over 2015 to 2020 the MPV market share is expected to decrease by around 1 percent per year, it is forecast to reach a floor in 2017 and return to positive growth thereafter.
Source: Drewry Maritime Research
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