Benchmarking Bulk Carriers 2019-2020

Published Date

April 2021

Benchmarking Bulk Carriers 2019-2020

(Excludes any applicable taxes)

The INTERCARGO Benchmarking Report provides a detailed analysis of the global dry bulk cargo fleet, reporting on performance and trends across many sectors of the industry.

Be the first to review this product

The Benchmarking Report is one of INTERCARGO’S initiatives in its pursuit of a safe, efficient, high quality and environmentally friendly dry cargo shipping industry.


Information is provided on:


  • the state of the global fleet, including total tonnage, deliveries and scrapping
  • performance by Class, Flag and P&I Club, including number of detentions and deficiencies
  • performance of INTERCARGO-entered ships
  • recorded incidents, negative performance indicators and casualty trends
  • regional MoU annual white/grey/black lists and the USCG targeted flag list
  • Port State Control and the Concentrated Inspection Campaign.

Global Fleet and Market Trends

Casualty and Incident Reporting



INTERCARGO – Entered Ships Performance

Owners’ Benchmarking

Negative Performance Indicators

Protection and Indemnity

Port State Control

INTERCARGO Benchmarking Projects

The world may have left 2020 behind, at the time of publishing INTERCARGO’s 2019–2020 Benchmarking Report, but it still faces the unprecedented challenges the previous 12 months have brought not only to shipping but to humanity altogether. Nobody could have anticipated what the last year would bring, as the COVID-19 pandemic dominated people’s lives. INTERCARGO continues to support the industry’s coordinated efforts to bring the seafarers’ humanitarian crisis to end.

Dry bulk shipping is necessary for maintaining and enhancing living standards in both developed and less-developed economies. Coronavirus caused unprecedented disruptions to global commerce and economic growth. Against these hardships and during these difficult times, dry bulk carriers have remained the workhorses of international shipping serving essential needs, such as food, raw materials and energy supply.

Across shipping, there was an estimated 3.8% drop in sea trade in 2020 compared to a 4% fall after the 2008 financial crash. Market-wise, average earnings for the dry bulk sector in 2020 were the worst for at least five years. The Baltic Dry Index averaged just 1,066 points, down by around 20% from 2020, and the lowest since 2016’s average of 673 points.

Dry bulk shipping demand contracted by up to -3% in volume and by more than -2% in ton-miles. The second half of the year was much better than the first half, yet China’s exception in driving up demand was offset by a generalised slump in most other parts of the world, with India, Europe and the rest of Asia importing less bulk commodities. On the supply side, the bulker newbuilding sector had a dismal year in 2020. According to market estimates, contracts in terms of volume dropped to their lowest level since 2016 and the second lowest in the last 20 years, which should ease the tonnage overcapacity in the sector.

Through to 2021, increasing demand and a low orderbook are the main reasons for optimism; cautious outlook points to global seaborne trade progressively regaining momentum. Dry bulk trade could rebound by around 4% in volume and even higher in tonne-miles. At the same time, low deliveries are expected to keep supply growth within 2% to 3% levels.

The outcome depends greatly on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and its allowing the world economy to recover. Some end of 2020 figures indicated economic activity to move towards a +4%, or even +5%, world GDP growth in 2021, after a similar-sized (~4.5%) contraction in 2020. But although China’s economy is reviving, most other countries are not there yet. The recovery is likely to be uneven across countries, potentially leading to lasting changes in the world economy.

Looking at the broader picture, dry bulk shipping experienced very good times in the 2000–2009 decade, followed by a very weak 2010–2019. In the current decade, the sector will have to prove its resilience and exploit the opportunities offered by the combined megatrends of sustainability and technological evolutions.

INTERCARGO’s three reference pillars remain those of safety, efficiency and environmental soundness with a constant aim for “quality and operational excellence”. The INTERCARGO Secretariat is proud that our Members, dry bulk cargo shipowners, remain committed to achieving environmental and operational excellence and to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. While shipping is the most environmentally friendly transport mode, the further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships is the greatest environmental challenge ahead. Following the progress of the last few years, we now see challenges such as quality issues with low sulphur fuel oils, as well as the real-world performance of ballast water treatment systems. The efficiency of international shipping is largely due to the scale and efficiency offered by bulk carriers.

The present benchmarking report, while still referring in some chapters (see below) to past year 2019 bulk carrier inspections, has benefited from an automated, and thus much improved, process of collecting said data, compared to past reports. As reported last year, this was an improvement the INTERCARGO Secretariat introduced in order to reduce errors in identifying areas of concern. The assistance of MIS Marine in switching the data gathering process from a manual to an automated process and ensuring the accurate and timely production of this report has been invaluable.


The International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO) represents the interests of quality dry cargo shipowners. INTERCARGO convened for the first time in 1980 in London and has been participating with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1993.

INTERCARGO provides the forum where dry bulk shipowners, managers and operators are informed about, discuss and share concerns on key topics and regulatory challenges, especially in relation to safety, the environment and operational excellence. The Association takes forward its Members’ positions to the IMO, as well as to other shipping and international industry fora, having free and fair competition as a principle.

INTERCARGO is committed to safety and quality in ship operations, with a focus on operational efficiency and protection of the marine environment.

Title: Benchmarking Bulk Carriers 2019-2020
Number of Pages: 47
Product Code: IT104361
Published Date: April 2021
Book Height: 300 mm
Book Width: 210 mm
Book Spine: 5 mm
Weight: 0.60 kg
Author: Intercargo

Bought this product? Why not review it?

If you have a question about this product, please contact us directly.