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In the midst of the current uncertainty of the dry bulk market grappling with international trade and geopolitical tensions, regional infrastructure disaster setbacks, uncertainty over the impact of the Imo 2020 sulphur regulation implementation, the slowing Chinese industrial activity and the coronavirus pandemic, the bulk carriers remain the workhorses of international shipping and global trade.

As Intercargo points out in its 2018–2019 Benchmarking Report, the dry bulk sector serves the essential needs of humankind and is necessary for maintaining the desired living standards in developed economies, and enabling less-developed countries to progress towards higher living standards.

Main and minor dry bulks include cereals, grains, agricultural and forest products, as well as iron and other mineral ores, coal and fertilisers, and several other basic goods.

The benchmarking report refers to past year 2018, as, Intercargo says unfortunately, the process of collecting data from bulk carrier inspections is still subject to considerable time delay. “This is an issue we aim to hopefully resolve next year, in order to reduce delays and errors in identifying areas of concern, “ said Intercargo.

An introductory section looks into the capacity of the global dry bulk fleet, the newbuilding orderbook and other key aspects of the global dry bulk fleet and market trends in the period under consideration.

“With safety for crews and ships coming first, our sector was pleased to record no losses of ships; however, losses of lives were reported from other incidents on board including those related to confined space entry and falls,” records the report. “Lessons learnt from past incidents play an important role in determining where additional safety improvement are necessary.’

Intercargo says incidents recorded in 2018 and the 10-year trends in the annual average number of lives and ships lost within the bulk carrier industry ”for one more year, the latter offer positive signs of safety improvement”, but the association reiterates the importance of investigating an incident and the subsequent casualty investigation reporting in a quality and timely manner.

Classification societies provide valuable services for the design, construction and maintenance of ships, among other technical services, enhancing maritime safety and pollution prevention. IACS members continued to lead the way in terms of market share and quality, as per recorded data.

In 2018, Intercargo-entered ships continued to significantly outperform industry averages in respect of both detentions and deficiencies per inspection. “It remains a core requirement of Intercargo policy that vessels entered by members should meet strict acceptance criteria, which is set significantly higher than industry averages,” said the owners body.

The IG of P&I clubs continued to dominate the market with an almost 84% share, and at the same time outperformed the non-IG P&I providers in terms of quality. However, the non-IG P&I clubs increased their market share.

The benchmarking report concludes by encouraging members and non-members to continue participating in Intercargo’s Reporting Schemes, including ‘Ship-Terminal Interface Experiences and Problems’ and ‘Safe Loading/Unloading at Anchorage’, as well as ‘Benchmarking crew injury frequency and lost time’.

Filed: 2020-04-27