According to their quarterly report, the International and Baltic Maritime Council (BIMCO) forecasts a growth in the maritime transport of solid bulks of 1.5% and 2.5% for 2023 and 1% to 2% for 2024. This increase in the average distance of these shipments, which could be between 0.5% and 1.5% this year, reflects sanctions on Russian coal and a rise in iron ore and grain exports from Brazil.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected a global economic growth of 3% for both years, 2023 and 2024. Additionally, it predicted a growth in China’s GDP higher than the government’s target for 2023. However, BIMCO views this projection for China with skepticism.

The global maritime transport of iron ore could grow by up to 5% in 2023, thanks to the increase in Chinese steel production. Nevertheless, on a global scale, excluding China, there has been a decrease in steel production, affecting iron ore transportation.

Regarding coal, BIMCO anticipates an increase in its maritime transport in 2023 but a decrease in 2024. Despite the growing energy demand in India, local mining has reduced imports.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, maritime grain transport could decline in 2023 and recover in 2024. Geopolitical factors, such as the conflict in Ukraine, could negatively impact grain shipments.

In terms of supply, BIMCO expects growth in the global bulk carrier fleet for 2023 and 2024, albeit at a reduced pace due to decreased navigation speeds. Investment in new bulk carriers has decreased, partly due to uncertainty about alternative fuels and a less attractive freight market.

Deliveries are expected to reach 34.4 million tpm (Mtpm) in 2023 and 32.3 Mtpm in 2024. Ship recycling has increased, although it remains a minimal fraction of the global fleet.

Finally, BIMCO projects a decrease in fleet efficiency due to slower navigation speeds, driven by high fuel costs, low freights, and new environmental regulations.