China’s domestic dry bulk shipping capacity rises rapidly in 2012


China’s domestic dry bulk shipping capacity rises rapidly in 2012

China’s domestic dry bulk shipping fleet capacity continued to grow rapidly in 2012 though the growth was slower than in 2011, according to the latest report released by the Ministry of Transportation, Xinhua reports.

As of the end of 2012, there have been 1,618 dry bulk vessels in operation on domestic trade lanes, totalling to 49.4 million deadweight tonnes, 15.2 per cent more than in 2011. But the growth was substantially slower than the 24.2 per cent in 2011.

Capacity growth in the four quarters in 2012 were 6 per cent, 4.2 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 2.6 per cent, showing a trend of slowing down except for the fourth quarter, when scheduled deliveries of new ships stimulated growth. Among vessels deployed last year, newbuilds amounted to 6.89 million deadweight tonnes, remaining the main factor of the fast growth of the dry bulk capacity.

However, capacity of the newbuildings in 2012, totalling 5.2 million deadweight tonnes, was much less than the peak of 8.42 million deadweight tonnes in 2011. This is the first time dry bulk capacity fell since it started surging from 2008, indicating looming overcapacity as demand shrank. But as carriers are prudent towards building new vessels, the number of newbuildings will continue to fall this year.

Meanwhile, elimination of old vessels were picking up pace. Last year, besides retirement of 11 ships totaling 220,000 deadweight tonnes that reached their mandatory scrapping age, 21 vessels totalling 360,000 deadweight tonnes that had not reached retirement age were also scrapped.

As of the end of 2012, the age of dry bulk ships of 10,000 tonnes above averaged at 8.2 years. Vessels with age of 18 years and over totaled to 320 with deadweight tonnage of 13.01 million tonnes, taking up 26.4 per cent of the domestic dry bulk fleet. On the container sector, vessels on domestic trade lanes with capacity of 700 TEU (about 10,000 deadweight tonnes) and above totaled to 149. Their capacity amounted to 448,000 TEU. Their age averaged at 12.5 years.

On the liquid and dangerous goods carrier sector, chemical carriers totalled by 261 with 997,000 deadweight tonnes as of the end of last year, up 17.9 per cent and slightly faster than the growth of 17.3 per cent in 2011. Oil carriers also saw capacity increasing with a faster growth.