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Capesize ship owners cut speed to hold rates up

Vessels run 20% slower as prices fall 41%

Gulf News

London: Owners of capesize vessels used to haul iron ore and coal have cut sailing speeds by 20 per cent since September 2008 to prop up rates depressed by overcapacity, shipbroker Lorentzen and Stemoco said.

A study of 90,000 voyages of bulk carriers able to carry more than 80,000 deadweight tonnes found that average speeds slowed to 10.4 knots from 13 knots, and added an extra two days to each voyage, analyst Nicolai Hansteen wrote in a report.

"With fewer vessels being available for charter, the market will be firming up faster due to increased demand for tonnage," Hansteen wrote.

One in five capesize vessels is unavailable for rent because of decreased productivity, according to Lorentzen and Stemoco, based in Oslo.

The global fleet of capesize vessels is just over 1,200, including 108 new ships that began trading in 2011, according to data from Clarkson Research Services Ltd., a unit of Clarkson Plc, the world's biggest shipbroker.

Hire costs for capesize ships have fallen 41 per cent this year to $11,773 (Dh43,243) a day, according to data from the Baltic Exchange in London — $400 more than operating costs, including crew and insurance and excluding fuel costs, said accounting experts.