Are the new fuel-efficient bulkers a threat to the old fleet?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the headlined eco-bulkers ordered in 2012 and 2013 are posing a threat to the less-efficient ships ordered at the end of the boom in 2008 and 2009.

This paper will first investigate the drivers for the interest in such low-emission, low-speed bulker as well as the more general history of bulker designs. This is followed by a study on the vessels delivered between 2005 and 2014, based on eight parameters representing fuel efficiency, speed and hydromechanics properties. Within these results, evidence is sought for a significant change in the qualities of the vessels delivered after the last boom.

The data showed that at least till present, no significant changes could be discovered between 2014 and the earlier years. This indicates that either because of the long delivery times at the end of the boom, such vessels are still to be delivered, or that they were not ordered in an amount large enough to change the trend. For the future, this fact and the changes in vessel design resulting from the introduction of the energy efficiency design index (EEDI) in 2017 and the large fluctuations in the fuel prices will be interesting to keep monitoring the developments in the eight studied parameters.

This paper extends (in time) and improves (number of variables studied) a number of earlier studies on average qualities of the world fleet. It studies both the composition and the changes in average properties of the ships produced each year. It allowed the author to discover and explain the trends that would not have been evident when studying ships as single units or as the result of a business opportunity optimisation. Most important of which is the fact that, on average, ships produced are optimised for the current economic conditions and are not taken into consideration for future trends and scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-246
JournalMaritime Business Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Dry bulkers
  • Ecologic design
  • EEDI
  • Fleet development
  • Newbuilding development


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