Since November 2020, the Baltic Dry Composite Freight Index (BDI) has shown an upward trend. Going into 2021, the BDI was given a shot of adrenaline, surging more than 140 per cent in the past three months to close at 3,266 points on May 5, the highest level since June 11, 2010. At the same time, the bulk carrier transport market has also appeared "a ship difficult to find" situation, ship freight rose sharply, second-hand bulk carrier trade is very active, which makes the domestic ship enterprises to the new bulk carrier shipbuilding market is full of expectations. Experts in the industry analysis, after the epidemic period, the world's macro economy as a whole in the rebound trend, dry bulk cargo transport demand is expected to continue to maintain growth, low for many years in the bulk carrier new shipbuilding market is expected to usher in a wave of "Indian summer".
Industry experts analysis, this round of BDI rapid rise is the result of a variety of factors. From the perspective of macroeconomic development, with the promotion of the new round of economic stimulus plan and the extensive vaccination of COVID-19 vaccine, the global economic recovery is accelerating. In the first quarter, China's GDP grew by 18.3%, the US's by 6.4%, and the European economy showed obvious signs of improvement. The price of coal, iron ore and other raw materials has risen rapidly, with the price of coal hitting an eight-year high and the price of iron ore hitting a ten-year high, influenced by the recovery of demand and supply bottlenecks. Upstream raw material price rise, downstream replenishment inventory demand, dry bulk cargo transportation market continued to pick up, promote the BDI further higher. At the same time, the bulk carrier transport market also appeared "a ship difficult to seek" situation, the Baltic Sea shipping index each ship type daily rental continues to rise. Since April, the Capesize bulk carrier market has been climbing to a 10-year high, with Capesize shipping rates hitting a high of $44,817 in the first week of May, according to data from the Baltic Shipping Exchange.
How long can the upward trend of this BDI continue? Experts believe that from the macroeconomic situation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the latest Global Economic Outlook Report again revised up this year's global economic growth rate to 6%. After the outbreak period, the global economy steady recovery period, increase the intensity of the stimulus, national commodities such as iron ore, coal demand continues to grow, dry bulk shipping demand as a whole increased dramatically, growth is expected to reach and economic growth is fairly even higher level, bulk transport market is expected to present positive development in a long period of time.
While demand is soaring, the bulk carrier market has a very limited growth in capacity supply, and signs of insufficient capacity have emerged. Capacity growth in the bulk carrier market was just 0.5 per cent in the first two months of this year and an estimated 2 per cent for the year as a whole, compared with 3.8 per cent demand growth and an expected 1 per cent next year. Currently, bulk carrier hand-held orders have fallen to a historic low. According to Clarkson Research, since June 2019, the proportion of bulk carrier hand-held orders in the existing fleet has been declining every month. As of March 2021, global hand-held bulk carrier orders stood at 51.5 million DWT, accounting for 30.8% of the total global hand-held orders. In the first quarter of this year, the world's new orders for bulk carriers were only 3.1 million DWT, accounting for the lowest proportion among the three main ship types, only 10.8%. In this regard, experts said that with the good development of the bulk carrier transport market, shipowner income will continue to improve, shipowner confidence is expected to be restored, the willingness to book ships will gradually strengthen. For ship owners, the price of new bulk carriers and the hand-held orders of ship companies are still at a low level. Orders placed at this time can not only significantly reduce costs, but also complete the elimination of old ships, accelerate the fleet renewal and adjustment and relayout. Therefore, the bulk carrier new shipbuilding market is still worth looking forward to.
Industry experts caution that, however, risks remain due to uncertainties such as the international situation and the COVID-19 epidemic. Domestic shipping enterprises should study the market calmly and seize the opportunity accurately. On the one hand, they should take "order grabbing" as the top priority for the survival and development of enterprises, and aim at the current intelligent, carbon neutral and other hot spots to provide energy-efficient, environment-friendly and intelligent new ship solutions for ship owners, and strive to win the first chance of order grabbing. On the other hand, we will constantly improve the efficiency and quality of shipbuilding, strive to shorten the cycle of slipway and dock, and try our best to deliver ships as soon as possible, so as to create conditions for accepting orders for new ships and even transplanting ships. In addition, domestic shipping enterprises should further strengthen risk control, summarize the experience in dealing with COVID-19 epidemic, objectively analyze and evaluate the factors of "force majeure", and scientifically apply legal means to effectively safeguard their own rights and interests and achieve sound development while seizing the opportunities brought by the recovery of dry bulk cargo transportation market.