Breakbulk, general cargo resurgent, but desperate box ships want in
BREAKBULK and general cargo, consigned to the dustbin of history by the container revolution, has enjoyed a resurgence in recent times with a mini-boom in project and heavy lift shipping - but desperate containerships are proving to be versatile rivals, says a Drewry report. Monday, 02.Apr.2012, 13:58 (GMT+3)
BREAKBULK and general cargo, consigned to the dustbin of history by the container revolution, has enjoyed a resurgence in recent times with a mini-boom in project and heavy lift shipping - but desperate containerships are proving to be versatile rivals, says a Drewry report.
"Project cargo is on the rise and much, if not most, of it depends on developing economies, which are faring much better than the old industrial nations." said Susan Oatway, author of Drewry's Multipurpose Shipping Market Review & Forecast 2012.
"However the niche market for the project carriers is not impervious to the competitive threat and added value must be the way forward for many carriers," she said.
"A number of the major lines have invested in open-top or flat-rack containers, designed specifically to carry the heavy, awkward cargo that used to be the preserve of the project carrier fleet. And a number of lines have told us they are aggressively marketing this service," Ms Oatway said.
Drewry Maritime Research's latest annual multipurpose report details the state of the multipurpose fleet, the demand for the cargo space on those vessels and the outlook for the markets they trade in. Project carriers and heavy lift are covered to reflect the anticipated growth in demand, said a statement from the London shipbroker and consultancy.
"Last year saw the multipurpose (MPV) vessels recover some of the optimism seen prior to 2007. Rates have started to firm again and the demand outlook is steady for both breakbulk and project cargo, while the fleet supply is under control," said the Drewry statement announcing the report's publication.
Drewry's latest multipurpose shipping report states that MPV market share continued to rise over 2011 as non-containerised cargo volumes benefited from the rise in general cargo trade.
Those volumes are expected to continue to rise throughout the forecast period, but Drewry expects the MPV share to drop from 2014 onwards because of competition from both the container and handy size shipping sectors.
Said Ms Oatway: "The outlook is much more positive than 12 months ago. Demand is picking up and even though competition seems to be mainly on a regional level."