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Friday, February 22, 2019 

Intercargo is about to publish its 20172018 Benchmarking Report, which the trade organisation says comes after a second year of solid improvement in the dry bulk market.

Back in December 2017, the Baltic Dry Index went above the 1,700 points, after the historic low below 300 points it reached in early 2016; through to 2018 it rose even higher to 1,774 points in August. The global capacity of the fleet rebounded to a growth of 4% in 2017, which receded in 2018. A positive momentum in demand has been balancing any expansion witnessed on the supply side, yet a number of factors moderate optimism through to 2019. (Geo-) political and economic shifts, trade tensions, a fragile growth in emerging markets, as well as a softening of GDP growth in developed economies, are some of them.

The report recognises that shipowners are faced with environmental challenges and fast technological evolutions, while they have to keep their operations cost competitive in order to continue serving the world’s trade needs, There is no doubt that dry bulk shipping should take pride that it has been providing efficient and environmentally friendly services to the world during the past decades up to the present time. Moreover it is looking confidently into the future, while remaining a low profile industry.

Intercargo’s three reference pillars of safety, efficiency, and environmental soundness with the constant aim for “quality & operational excellence” remain more relevant than ever in the face of increasing regulatory pressures. With safety for crews and ships coming first, lessons learnt from past incidents play an important role in determining where additional safety improvement is necessary.

Intercargo notes that its entered ships continue to significantly outperform the industry averages in respect of both detentions and deficiencies per inspection. The annually updated owners’ benchmarking tables allow shipowning companies to benchmark their fleets’ performance against the global dry cargo fleet. The section in the report on Port State Control (PSC) provides an overview of the most important PSC regimes and, among other, insights per PSC scheme on inspections and detentions of bulk carriers, the ship targeting systems and performance indicators, and concentrated inspection campaigns.

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